May 14th is National Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) Day.

This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring the next generation’ to encourage ODPs everywhere to spread the word far and wide

ODPs work in three key areas; anaesthetics, surgery and recovery. Often overlooked and unknown they play a vital role supporting patients before and after surgery. They will monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other physiological signs and provide appropriate interventions and treatment until the patient has recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia and/or surgery and is stable.

There are more than 40 ODPs at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust. One of those is Chris McBride, who works at the Cumberland infirmary. Chris explains how he came to the profession and the highlights and challenges of the job.

Chris McBride ODP.JPGHe said:

“I was a 19 year-old electrician when I started. I was always interested in people and would often find myself chatting to patients while repairing nurse call systems or attending to faulty bed pan machines!

“The move came in 2001 after the death of my 21-year-old sister, she’d had cancer and had been very well looked after by Sister Ellen Stoddard, the staff on ward 6, Mr Hugh O’Brien and Dr Teresa Storr. 

“I worked as a Health Care Assistant in theatres opposite my electrical shifts. The matron at the time suggested I make the jump and the rest is history. I did a two year Diploma of Higher Education then a degree in Critical Care.

This gave me the opportunity to further advance my career and I am now almost finished my Master’s degree in advanced clinical practice and, while I now work as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in the ENT department, I still help out as an ODP when required - old habits!”

To be an ODP you have to have “lateral thinking, nerves of steel and a good sense of humour.

Chris said:

“We tend to be an outspoken bunch!  ODPs are now found outside the traditional theatre setting. This Trust is very supportive of ODPs working in advanced roles. Nationally there are less than 30 ODPs in senior clinical roles and this Trust has at least three with even more currently undergoing advanced training. So statistically we employ a high percentage of Advanced ODPs nationally (and there’s room for more!).

“The more traditional ODP role is diverse as ODPs skill set is primarily carried out in anaesthetics, scrub or a recovery setting. These roles cover all aspects of elective, emergency and out of hours, including all specialities – A&E and Maternity included!”

Chris says ODP Day helps to highlight ODPs as individuals and as a professional group of allied health professionals within the care setting.

He said:

“There are many amazing ODPs here who because of the role they play are unseen. ODP Day champions these people and highlights the extended role we are now expanding into, allows newly qualified or ODP’s looking to challenge themselves the arena to do so in a positive environment.”

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