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21 March 2019
Operating Department Practice student Lauren explains how she came to study on the course.
When I left school in 2011, I was really unsure about what career I wanted... and then I came across Operating Department Practice.
I went to sixth form and gained AS levels, then onto college to study Cabin Crew. Three years and a couple of jobs later, I was really stressed about what path to take.
I then saw a job advertisement for a Health Care Assistant (HCA) role working in St Andrew's Burns and Plastics Theatres in Chelmsford.
It was during this role that I first came across an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP), and I was immediately interested in the part they played as part of the theatre team. It's such a diverse role, with ODPs being able to specialise in three areas of the perioperative environment:
I loved my job as a HCA, but I was really looking to challenge myself and develop my range of skills and knowledge. I got speaking to the ODPs I worked with, and they were so friendly and willing to answer any questions I had.
Patients are at their most vulnerable when they come in for surgery, often anxious and scared. I saw first-hand what a difference the ODPs made to a patient and their journey, and I really couldn't wait to be a part of it!
They wasted no time in pointing me in the right direction, and within two years I had completed an online Access course which enabled me to apply to university.
Now was the decision of which university to pick! ARU in Chelmsford was my local university, and I was over the moon when I saw they offered the BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practitioner course.
Quite a few of my friends had studied at ARU and all of them mentioned how supported they felt during their courses and what a fantastic time they had.
I decided to book onto a Taster Day at the University, which I knew would be a fantastic opportunity for me to find out more about the course and I can honestly say, I wasn't disappointed! It was a fantastic day! I was made to feel so welcome by the tutors and current students on the course.
There was plenty of time to ask lots of questions – I had been out of education for a few years and I was really concerned about the academic side of the course. However, I was instantly reassured by the tutors and students as they explained the excellent support and advice that ARU offers students.
I applied in October 2017 and started in August 2018. I am now halfway through my first year and loving every minute of placement! Seeing the difference you're making to someone's life is so rewarding, and I am so proud to be a student ODP.
Lauren studies Operating Department Practice at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.