The role of the Operating Department Practitioner

Two medics in an operating theatre

Working as an operating department practitioner (ODP) is diverse and includes a wide range of skills across the entire perioperative patient journey.

As a registered ODP you’ll work in one or more of three main areas in the theatre environment, as well as in critical care environments such as intensive care and A&E. You’ll gain competence in all areas of theatres through focused practice modules across your entire course. You’ll be supervised throughout your course by qualified mentors. The three main areas are: anaesthetics, surgery and Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU).

Operating department practitioner roles

Anaesthetics role

Anaesthesia is a skilled area, requiring attention to detail, technological knowledge, knowledge of anatomy and physiology and pharmacology, and importantly excellent communication skills, compassion and empathy and respect for patient dignity.

Learn more about the Anaesthetics role

Surgery: scrubbed role and circulating role

In the surgical role the ODP can perform two different tasks: acting as the scrub practitioner, or circulating practitioner. You’ll commonly work in both roles in one day.

Explore the scrubbed and circulating role

Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU)

The Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU), sometimes known as recovery, is the final stage in patients’ perioperative journey, and employs a one-to-one practitioner to patient ratio.

Discover the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit