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Why I chose 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

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:

  • anaesthetics
  • surgery
  • recovery.

A fresh challenge

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.

A local opportunity

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.


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.