Operating Department Practitioner BSC - Level 6

Operating Department

As an ODP you’ll help and support patients having surgery or a surgical procedure, by managing and delivering a high level of care.

ODPs have an important role in the 3 phases of perioperative care:
- anaesthetic phase – assisting the patient before surgery, preparing specialist equipment and drugs
- surgical phase – working alongside the surgeon, providing the correct surgical instruments and materials
- recovery phase – assessing and monitoring the patient

You’ll work in the surgery team and manage the preparation of the operating theatres. You'll also be the the link between the surgical team and other parts of the operating theatre and hospital.

Skills and knowledge

To become an Operating Department Practitioner you will need:

  • knowledge of medicine
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently


You’ll need to study for a two-year diploma or three-year degree in operating department practice at university. You will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grades 4-9/A-C or equivalent plus A-level or equivalent qualifications. These will vary depending on the university so check with the universities you are considering applying to. Once you’ve completed your degree, you need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising. The other option is to apply for an apprenticeship degree.

Routes into this job

You can get into this role through an operating department practitioner degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 4 years to complete and is a combination of learning in the workplace and academic study at an approved university.

Your employer and the government will pay the tuition fees, so apprenticeships aren’t eligible for student grants.


You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs (grades 4-9/A*-C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

You'll need to study a two-year diploma of higher education or three-year degree in operating department practice approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can top up your diploma to a degree after qualifying if you want.


You'll usually need:
- five GCSEs (grades 4-9/A*-C)
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

Or the equivalent qualifications:
- BTEC, HND or HNC, including science
- relevant NVQ
- science-based access course
- equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications

Career progression

Once you’ve qualified, you’ll have annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) check-ins, where you will discuss your career aspirations and plan how to achieve them, so you’re always moving forward.

With experience, you may be able to progress to team leader or senior ODP and manage an operating theatre unit. You could also move into education, training and research.

Some ODPs take further training approved by the Royal College of Surgeons to work as surgical care practitioners. This would give you the skills to complete some surgical procedures, under the supervision of a consultant surgeon.

You could also train to work as an anaesthesia associate or advanced critical care practitioner.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner - Level 7

Advanced Clinical Practitioners are experienced clinicians who demonstrate expertise in their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners manage defined episodes of clinical care independently, from beginning to end, providing care and treatment from the time an individual first presents through to the end of the episode, which may include admission, referral or discharge or care at home. They carry out their full range of duties in relation to individuals’ physical and mental healthcare and in acute, primary, urgent and emergency settings (including hospitals, general practice, individuals’ homes, schools and prisons, and in the public, independent, private and charity sectors). They combine expert clinical skills with research, education and clinical leadership within their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners work innovatively on a one to one basis with individuals as well as part of a wider team. They work as part of the wider health and social care team and across traditional professional boundaries in health and social care.