Operating Department Practice

BSc single honours Operating Department Practice 2019/20

Year of entry

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 (ODP) 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 with the knowledge and understanding 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.

Why Choose ODP at Canterbury Christ Church University?

  • We developed and had approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) the first BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree in the UK.
  • The country's first students to graduate with a degree in Operating Department Practice (ODP).
  • Specialist provider for ODP education for over 20 years.
  • Dedicated team of experience and specialised staff.
  • Our degree in ODP has an overall satisfaction rating of 94% (NSS 2016).
  • High rate of post qualification professional/managerial employment (100% - DLHE 2014/15).
  • A culture of student support.

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 have developed a new course. 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 ODP profession.

This course allows you to be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council 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.

Foundations of Academic Skills (20 credits)

The aim of this first year module is to enable students to gain foundation-level skills for effective study throughout the programme by using a range of academic, professional and interpersonal skills while gaining awareness of evidence bases related to perioperative care. The module extends the induction process and familiarises students with requirements for university study in Health and Wellbeing via learning activities and engagement with university services, including supporting ‘international students and non-native English speakers’ (Higher Education Academy, 2014). This module provides the base for further development in years 2 and 3.

Foundations of Clinical Practice Skills (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to enable the student to begin to appreciate the theoretical concepts underlying professional operating department practice. In addition to the ability to organise, assemble and position equipment to meet the requirements of the operating list. As a result, the module will enable students to commence the development of the essential core clinical skills, underpinning knowledge and understanding through engagement with learning activities undertaken within both the University settings and practice setting.

Foundations of Reflective Practice (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce the student to professionalism and reflective practice and for students to appreciate reflection both as a student development tool and as a professional, career-long activity. Students will be aware of the responsibilities of a professional to practice safely, ethically with integrity and aware of their digital footprint. Students will begin to focus on the patient experience throughout their perioperative journey acknowledging the service user voice during this process in order to reflect on patients’ emotional needs while accumulating knowledge of their physical needs in their first year.

Foundations of Human Biology (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the normal structure and function of the human body, in order to help them understand how principles of the human biology relate to normal activities of living.

Foundations of Anaesthetic Practice (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the anaesthetic setting and their role in assisting the anaesthetist. The basic principles of perioperative anaesthetic care and associated subject content will be identified including relevant equipment, underpinning pharmacology, anaesthesia techniques as well as the assessment, planning and implementation of patient care.

Foundations of Surgical Practice (20 credits)

The module will provide students with a broad introduction to the fundamental surgical skills, principles and theoretical knowledge necessary for working within the sterile field. In addition to learning about the management of patients undergoing surgical intervention and individualised patient care; students will gain an understanding of the principles of asepsis, infection control and the importance of maintaining homeostasis. The aim of this module is to introduce students to their role and responsibilities as a scrub practitioner.

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.

Developing Academic Skills (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to provide students with a framework to find, assess and evaluate sources of evidence used in the perioperative practice setting. This module builds on the foundations of Academic Skills that was undertaken in year 1 and will continue the development of Graduate Skills. 

Developing Clinical Practice Skills (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to further develop the knowledge, understanding and necessary professional clinical skills related to perioperative practice. The module will build upon the elementary concepts of anaesthetic, and surgical clinical practice introduced within the “Foundations of Clinical Practice Skills module at level 4”. In addition, the students will be introduced to the clinical practice skill required to support the Post-anaesthetic patient. The module will further develop the underpinning knowledge necessary for operating department practice. 

Developing Reflective Practice (20 credits)

The aims of this module are to build on the foundation reflective skills gained in year 1 so fostering a positive attitude to reflection and self-questioning with realisation of the impact of reflection on student learning and professional practice.  Students should be able to integrate reflection into their everyday practice improving patient experience and outcomes beginning to interpret and question established processes.

Developing Anaesthetic Practice (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to develop further the students’ skills, competencies and knowledge in assisting the anaesthetist. The module will build upon the basic concepts of anaesthetic practice introduced in year 1 and further develop the students’ ability to become safe, efficient and capable practitioners. Students will be introduced to basic electrocardiograph interpretation and the use of 12 lead ECG for diagnostic purposes. Social and cognitive skills identified as ‘non-technical’ skills will be introduced to aid the development of professional skills. 

Developing Surgical Practice (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to develop further the students’ skills, competencies and knowledge in assisting the surgeon as a novice Surgical First Assistant. The module will build upon the basic concepts of surgical practice introduced in year 1 and continue to develop their ability to become safe, efficient and capable surgical practitioners.

Post-Anaesthetic Surgical Care (20 credits)

The module aims to equip the student with the theory supporting and rationalising safe, effective care of adult patients recovering from elective surgery, introducing post-operative care principles and embracing HCPC (2014) Standards of Proficiency relevant to post-anaesthetic and surgical care in practice. The module aims to establish foundations for seriously ill and highly dependent patients in year three and introduces students to their first autonomous role in theatre.

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.

Enhanced Academic Skills – 20 credits

This module aims to showcase the students’ ability to undertake an extended piece of systematic, reflective, critical enquiry into an aspect of perioperative practice of their choosing. This module is focussed on a topic of particular interest to the student and each student will work under the guidance of an academic supervisor, with extra support provided through seminars and lectures. The module continues to build on the ‘Foundations of Academic Skills undertaken in year 1 and ‘Developing Academic Skills’ undertaken in year 2 to continue the development of Graduate Skills. This module will encourage students to manage their time effectively, organise their ideas and extend and compliment content from previous modules.

Enhanced Clinical Practice Skills – 20 credits

The aim of this module is the integration of enhanced knowledge and a wider understanding of the clinical skills required when managing the perioperative patient within context of anaesthetic, surgical and post-anaesthetic care for specific patient groups. It will enable students to increase their understanding of the complexity of issues and concepts which underpin and influence their practice within the perioperative environment.

Enhanced Reflective Practice – 20 credits

This module continues to enhance the student’s personal and professional development and their lifelong-learning capabilities with a view to becoming an adaptive, professional practitioner equipped to communicate and collaborate with varied service users and inter-professional multi-disciplinary teams on completing the programme. The aim is for students to critically reflect on their practice extending both the physical and academic boundaries of years 1 and 2 reflective modules to include an area outside traditional theatre roles and more complex patient populations via deeper, structured reflection with recognition of the autonomous aspects of Operating Department Practice within an inter-professional, sustainable organisation. The module will prepare students for the qualified ODP role progressing toward leadership and management of perioperative teams in clinical practice.

Enhanced Anaesthetic Practice – 20 credits

This module will build upon the year 2 Developing anaesthetic skills module with a focus on complex care and critically ill patient management. Leadership and management capabilities will be developed to enable students to provide leadership when required. Social and cognitive skills identified as ‘non-technical’ skills will be further developed to promote student ability to become adept at team leadership, to be situationally aware and to develop confidence in the management or resolution of conflict.

Enhanced Surgical Practice – 20 credits

The aim of this module is to build upon the year 2 Enhanced surgical skills module focusing on specific competencies and knowledge to enable students to develop confidence in assisting the surgeon as a competent SFA. Social and cognitive skills identified as ‘non-technical’ skills will be further developed to promote student ability to become adept at team working, to be situationally aware, to maintain standards of good practice and to problem solve appropriately.

Seriously Ill and Highly Dependent Patient Management – 20 credits

The module aims to foster deeper understanding of complex and vulnerable patients including adults, obstetric patients and children and incorporates interprofessional learning in surgical and in other critical care areas according to HCPC (2014) standards of Proficiency for Operating Department Practitioners. This module develops the autonomous practice introduced in year 2 extending beyond theatre boundaries and embracing interprofessional collaboration within acute and critical care environs aiming to inform confident, capable practitioners who will meet the changing needs of the populations and employers they work with.

All components of every module must be passed and all practice placement competences must be passed in order to progress to the next year / level.

Newly qualified operating department practitioners typically start their careers on a band 5 (NHS) before progressing to higher bands following a period of professional 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 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £11,900

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

Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

Overseas students, please note that there is an additional fee of £1,450 per year of study for placement costs. You will also be required to fund your own travel and accommodation costs.

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.


You will be taught through the use of lectures, seminars, group discussion, and reflection using experiences from clinical practice. Students will be supported with tutorials as well as seminars with focussed discussion linking theory to practice, and self-directed study via flipped classroom and the virtual learning environment which will provide additional resources such as power point presentations, evidence based materials, web links and audio visual aids. In addition simulation of practice skills will be undertaken within the simulation site. You will typically have 50 hours contact per each module studied.

The academic year runs from September until July each year and you can usually expect to be in university up to 4 days every week for most of the academic year when not on placement. Approximately 60% of your time will be spent on clinical placement, mainly within an Operating Department where you will experience a wide range of anaesthetic and surgical interventions. 

The clinical placements will facilitate practice learning to further support the clinical skills required to meet the module competences. Integration of theoretical and practice learning will ensure students’ understanding of the relationship between theoretical knowledge, evidence based practice and safe clinical professional practice in preparation for the transition through the course.

In year 1 of the course will undertake 16 weeks of clinical placement within a hospital operating department.  In year 2 this will be 19 weeks and 21 weeks in year 3.

At the beginning of the course, each student will be allocated a personal academic tutor who is a member of university teaching staff. They will provide regular tutorial support during the course.  The same personal academic tutor may also be their link tutor when in clinical practice but if not they will also have a link tutor assigned to the practice learning area.

The Learning and teaching strategies will involve you as an active participant in the quality assurance and enhancement of the course.

Independent learning

Students will complete work-book at their own pace and will be encouraged to appraise and manage their development producing a personal development plan.  Learning is encouraged via electronic packages and self-directed study is introduced with both peer and tutor feedback to foster a cohesive, interactive learning cohort equipped with interpersonal feedback skills preparing students for communication both as practitioners and in the wider environment while fostering the concept of life-long learning and managing own development.  Students will be introduced to models and tools for reflective practice and encouraged toward regular shared e-reflection via an electronic blog and practice supervision.

Ultimately, students will become self-directed in their studies and take responsibility for being an independent learner. They will have experience of lectures, seminars, group work and technology-enhanced learning.

Overall workload

All theory components of every module must be passed, all practice competences must be achieved and all placement hours must be completed in order to successfully progress to the next year / level.  You must also sign a declaration of suitability each year to say you are of good health and good character. 

Academic Input

All staff involved in the teaching of this course are registered professionals and are experienced teachers, either currently involved in research or delivering research informed teaching. Within the ODP team three of four staff have engaged with research to Masters level and one is currently engaged in PhD studies. Other roles adopted by staff include peer reviewer for national journals e.g Journal of Perioperative Practice; external examiner positions and acting as a fitness to practice partner for the HCPC. The programme also utilises the experience of expert practitioners including consultant anaesthetists, Surgical Care Practitioners and surgeons as well as the expertise of other professions within the university such as nurses and paramedics. 

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

In order to meet the different learning styles of students and to align with the module content, a variety of assessment methods are used within the modules for each year. Your understanding of theory will be assessed in a variety of ways including; objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), essays, case studies, exams, reflective pieces, on-line assessments, and presentations.

You will be encouraged to keep a reflective log of your time as a student to demonstrate your progress and development on the course. The practice elements of modules are assessed in clinical practice by Practice Placement Mentors and other mentors with a relevant professional background. Practice elements of the modules are assessed on a pass/fail basis and are detailed in the Practice Assessment Record (PAR). You will need to pass both the theory and the practice for every module in order to pass each year and the course.

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 the same shift times as your mentor i.e 37½ hours per week. This is because 

once you are in employment after qualifying you will undertake the same working hours within the operating department. This ensures that you experience the full range of activity in your individual placement. Shifts 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, this is so you can also gain experience from some specialist settings.

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, and are subject to satisfactory Occupational 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 Course Enquiry Team:

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

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • B991

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time


  • September 2019 (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

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited: 11/10/2018 12:21:00