Operation Department Practitioners: Hear from our team

14 May 2020, 9:25 a.m.

At Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), there are over 45 Operation Department Practitioners (ODPs) who work in all areas of theatres, as well as in anxiety management, EPR, risk, and simulation. In this article, we share the experiences of ODPs who work across the three main areas of ODP qualification: Anaesthetics, scrub, and recovery.

Meet Ivona, Matron for Operations and Images

“People don’t always know what an ODP is or what we do. We have very similar training as our nursing colleagues but we specialise in the operating department, immediate pre and post phases and acute services. Our skills and abilities mirror the nursing profession and we are registered and accountable in the same way. It is my absolute pleasure to work alongside my nursing colleagues and I have learnt so much from them and I hope that it is mutual.

“I have always been fascinated by the hospital environment and knew that’s where I wanted to work. I applied to study the ODP course at GOSH because I have always loved working with children and young people and knew of GOSH reputation. During the training, we had to complete several adult placements which affirmed my interest in paediatrics.

"The best part of being an ODP is working in a truly multidisciplinary team. Once everyone has donned their scrubs, hats and mask, the hierarchy dissipates and everyone is working towards the same goal which is to make sure the patient is safe and has the best care that we can provide.”

Meet Hannah, Scrub practitioner 

“When the day begins, I coordinate with the team and ensure all the equipment is ready. Then during the operation we’re assisting the surgeon, passing instruments, making sure everything’s there, and circulating to make sure the environment in theatres is safe. I really like the challenge of being a scrub ODP. It always tends to be quite busy, with a lot of time on your feet.”

Meet Mark, Anaesthetic practitioner 

“Our first contact with a patient is when they come to the anaesthetic room. Some children are quite blasé, some are fearful, and it’s really about having that opportunity to try and allay their fears and build that repour and trust with them when they’re at their most vulnerable. This is the time when parents leave their child completely in our care, so we need to reassure them too.

“One key thing I’ve found as an ODP is to show your own vulnerability to a patient. It’s important to acknowledge and say ‘yeah, there are times I’ve been afraid too’ and ‘that would worry me too’. It’s about having normal conversations with them and not dismissing their fears.”