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What it's like to study Operating Department Practice


Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
Category: Allied and public health

5 June 2019

What's it like to study Operating Department Practice? Student Lauren gives the lowdown on placements, lectures, assignments, and support.

Hi! My name is Lauren and I am currently a first-year student studying Operating Department Practice at ARU's Chelmsford campus.


I spend most of my time as a student on placement. I am there for at least 24 hours a week – 32 hours if I don't have teaching that week.

In the first year, my placement is split into anaesthetics and surgery. I have two different mentors for each area, and I shadow them, learning from them.

Of course, your mentor may not always be around, due to annual leave or sickness. This isn't a problem, as someone else will be found for you to follow whilst they are off.

We have lots of support, both on placement and at the University. On placement, we have a Practice Educator – an ODP who regularly meets with us to discuss how we are getting on and makes sure we are okay.

We can also approach our Practice Educator when we see them around theatres if we have any queries. They are in regular contact with the University, and often attend meetings with other Practice Educators.

Each hospital also has a Link Tutor. One of my tutors is assigned to my placement hospital and they come to visit every so often, again to check how we are getting on and ensure we are completing our hours/practice books.

Any problems can be discussed with your Link Tutor, and you can always email them and/or your Practice Educator.


I normally attend University on a Friday for lectures and practical sessions. We learn a variety of different skills which help prepare us for when we are out on placement such as dealing with emergency situations.

My course is on a trimester basis (split into three terms) and we have two modules for each, with an assessment at the end of them. This term my modules were Anaesthetics, which I had an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination – Practical Exam) for, and Anatomy and Physiology, which I had a written exam for.

Our lectures and practical sessions prepare us for these assessments. We underwent mock exams for both, so that we could be well equipped and find out if there was anything that we could improve upon.


It is key for you to manage your time well when you have assessments and exams to study for, but of course you can still enjoy yourself! It's just as important to make sure that you have some downtime to relax and unwind (Netflix and a hot chocolate for me!).

As soon as I’m given an assessment, I start it straight away, so I'm organised and don't find myself worrying as the deadline gets closer, rushing to get the work completed at the last minute. Planning is vital and it works very well for me.


There is plenty of support from tutors when assignments are given to us – they spend a lot of time explaining them and answering any questions we might have.

Additionally, the University's Study Skills Plus team offers a variety of workshops and help, covering IT, maths, academic writing, and more.

Lauren studies Operating Department Practice at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.