Operating Department Practice

BSc single honours Operating Department Practice 2018/19

Year of entry


Clearing places available

Taught in Medway only.

Our Operating Department Practice course enables you to become a confident, capable operating department practitioner who can carry out complex activities in all areas of the hospital operating department. You’ll be guided by staff with extensive experience in this field of practice and in inter-professional education, which is key to the teamwork needed within hospitals.


You will explore areas including:

  • human biology and health
  • advancing anaesthetic practice
  • advancing surgical practice
  • advancing post-anaesthetic care
  • the role of Surgical First Assistant (SFA)
  • leadership and management.

The BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree will provide you with the opportunity to gain Surgical First Assistant competencies within the course. You are supported in learning about the assessment, planning and delivery of individualised care from admission through to the immediate postoperative PACU (Post Anaesthesia Care Unit).

The demands placed on Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) mean you will learn to take responsibility for managing all aspects of patient care within the operating department. The course prepares you to work in a wide range of clinical situations supporting patients as they prepare for, undergo and recover from routine and emergency surgical and anaesthetic procedures.

100% of our most recent Operating Department Practice students were in a professional/ managerial job 6 months after finishing their course

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education, 2015/16

This course is suitable if you would like to gain a sound understanding of operating department practice and become eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Operating department practice education has been delivered at Canterbury Christ Church for over 20 years. We were the first university to develop a BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree in the UK and be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. You will be taught by a dedicated and experienced teaching team and will learn in a supportive student friendly environment.

To ensure you experience the most current and relevant health and social care education, we are excited to be offering a newly designed course from September 2017. The course has been designed to reflect the rapidly evolving dimensions of the health and social care sector and the needs of the individual.

100% of our Operating Department Practice students were satisfied with the quality of their course

National Student Survey, 2017

Your studies will focus on operating department practice interlinked with learning with and from others to prepare you for your future working environments. Studying operating department practice means you will gain academic knowledge and practical skills to equip you to support the perioperative stage of surgical intervention: pre, during and post operation. You could be preparing equipment for a routine procedure, responding to an emergency, helping to calm and reassure patients. Variety and stamina are a big part of the profession and we aim to prepare you for this by teaching, guiding and supporting you throughout your studies.

In addition to studying at university, you will undertake clinical placements within hospital operating departments and other practice areas to help you understand the patient's journey and the work of others in their care. This is undertaken alongside qualified practitioners, enabling you to develop your knowledge and skills under direct supervision and helping you become familiar with the regulations for standards of practice and accountability within the profession.

This degree is subject to the approval of the Health and Care Professions Council. This allows you to be eligible to apply for registration upon successful completion of the course.

We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. We will inform applicants of any changes to the course structure before enrolment.

Year 1

Year 1 aims to cover the foundations of clinical skills and knowledge for effective studying including communications skills. Key themes include: healthcare and professional regulation, safeguarding, introduction to principles of perioperative care, introduction to fundamental surgical skills, human biology and health. There are practice placements during this year.

Year 2

Year 2 aims to cover the development of more complex topics: professional development, advancing anaesthetic practice, pathophysiology for operating department practice, advancing surgical practice and immediate postoperative care. Practice placements aim to extend your capacity in applying theory to practice and extend your practice competence.

Year 3

Year 3 aims to enhance and support your development as a safe, effective and competent operating department practitioner. Topics include: development of professional practice, surgical first assistant, immediate post­ operative care, caring for seriously ill patients, leadership and management. Preparation for the workplace and enhancing your reflective practice form part of placement learning.

Newly qualified operating department practitioners typically start their careers on a band 5 (NHS) before progressing to higher bands following a period of development.

A number of our students have gone on to roles in major teaching hospitals in London. Others have gained employment locally with the NHS and the private sector, while others are working further afield.

With experience, additional education and training, you could go on to any number of roles in the UK and abroad. These may include: non medically qualified anaesthetist (physicians assistant anaesthesia), physicians associate, surgical care practitioner, resuscitation training officer, transplant teams, Accident and Emergency, Intensive Therapy Units – (ITU), management; education.

Find out more about careers in Operating Department Practice

Read about a day in the life of an Operating Department Practitioner


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £11,500

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

You will be entitled to claim travel and accommodation expenses incurred over and above daily travel costs to university. The costs must be related to essential practice placements.

CCCU Advantage

Our aim is to ensure that there are no hidden initial costs when commencing your Health and Wellbeing course. Any additional costs to pre-registration health and social care students should be kept to a minimum, therefore, we will be providing all our students commencing courses affected by the NHS bursary changes from September 2017 with extra funding support as part of your course fees.

The CCCU Advantage Package includes:

  • Uniforms
  • Disclosure & Barring Service check
  • Occupational Health costs, including immunisation

Visit The Funding Clinic for further information on the Government funding changes.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Composition of the course

The length of the programme is three years full-time, and has an approximately equal mix of academic and practice elements. A typical week at University will be spent in lectures, seminars, and practical sessions in our Simulation Suite which houses an operating theatre. During university attendance weeks, at least one day per week is allocated to self-directed study/independent learning which you are free to do at a location most suited to your needs.

During practice placements, all students adhere to a 37.5 hour working week as per NHS working patterns. How these hours are made up in the working week varies between practice placements but in the second and third years of the programme you will be required to work some weekend or night shifts.

You will spend a number of weeks on placement each year where you will be working and learning in an operating theatre environment. You could undertake your placements anywhere across Kent, Medway, East Sussex or the borders of London (placements are confirmed to you during the course, and we cannot guarantee you will get your first choice).

It is essential that you have good access to travel, either by having your own transport or being near to regular, reliable public transport. This is due to the nature and location of some the hospital sites where you may be placed.

Academic input

Our dedicated lecturers have a wealth of experience across all areas of clinical practice, with many having extensive experience in clinical practice. Their experience and knowledge means you will be prepared to join the profession with confidence. The programme is supported by lecturers from other professional areas within the university providing an interprofessional context to your learning. In addition, we draw upon the expertise of visiting professors and practice-based colleagues’ specialist expertise.

A member of staff has been awarded the Fellowship of the Association of Operating Department Practitioners for services to the profession.

Surprising terms

Students in placement must conform to NHS rules of appearance and conduct as set out by the placement provider/organisation.

You are required to pass all modules in each year to enable you to progress to the following year of study. All modules must be passed at a minimum of 40% within the academic component of the module. Clinical practice is graded on a pass or fail basis and must also be passed before you can progress to the following year.

During placement you may be required to attend at shift times, as is often the case once in employment. This ensures that you experience the full range of activity in your individual placement. Shift work could include weekends, bank holidays and night duty.

Owing to the varied nature of placements, there may be a need for you to travel to and from placements mostly within Kent, Medway and also East Sussex and London, so you can also gain experience from some specialist settings.

The various ways that you will be assessed typically include examinations, case studies, presentations, essays and clinical assessment in placement.

GCSE English Language and Mathematics, at grade C or above, or equivalent.

Applicants for Operating Department Practice need to demonstrate a basic understanding of the profession and explain why it is the right career choice for them.

Student recruitment is undertaken by means of a Values Based Recruitment approach which is aligned with the values and behaviours expected by the NHS Constitution.

Offers of a place can only be made after a successful interview, subject to satisfactory health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

On completion of the course and in preparation for registration, the Programme Director must be satisfied that you meet the relevant statutory regulatory body fitness to practise criteria. You will be required to sign an annual declaration of ongoing fitness to practise at regular intervals during the course. The Faculty of Health and Wellbeing has a Fitness to Practise policy and procedures which may be instigated should you demonstrate behaviour or conduct that falls short of that expected by the University and/or statutory regulatory body. For more details, visit www.canterbury.ac.uk/policies-procedures.

To be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council you must demonstrate good health and good character throughout your studies and on completion. Applications for professional registration will be subject to satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and Occupational Health clearance.

The Simulation Suite at our Medway Campus is set up as a hospital environment with a fully equipped simulated operating theatre and scrub room to help you integrate theory and clinical practice learning. Within the Simulation Suite we have a number of patient simulators (patient mannequins) which are used extensively, and can simulate vital physiological signs and symptoms of patient conditions and illness. This enables the core skills of airway management, respiration, cardiac, circulation management and patient care to be leant in a safe and controlled environment.

There are also lecture theatres and a large learning resource/library which has shared access with neighbouring universities.

We work very closely with the NHS and the private and independent healthcare sector, and your practice learning will be in these settings.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Email: admissions@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • B991

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time


  • September 2018 (Medway)

Entry requirements

  • GCSE English Language and Mathematics, at grade C or above, or Functional Skills Level 2.

    A typical offer would be BBC at A2 Level, or equivalent

    Overseas Students - all must attend for interview (no Skype), English language requirements is IELTS 7 with 7 in all component parts

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited 17/09/2018 14:45:00

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Last edited: 17/09/2018 14:45:00