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  • 26 June 2023
  • 8 min read

Exploring ODP As A Career Choice: A Comparison With Nursing & Career Progression

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    • Richard Gill
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  • 1224
The world of Operating Department Practitioners“The demand for ODPs has been steadily increasing in recent years, highlighting the positive career prospects within this field… The employment opportunities are available in both public and private healthcare sectors.”

Choosing a career path in healthcare is a significant decision, and individuals often weigh their options carefully. In this article, we will delve into the world of Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) and evaluate whether ODP is a promising career choice when compared to nursing. We will also explore the career progression opportunities available for ODPs in the United Kingdom.

ODPs have important roles in anaesthetic, surgery, and recovery. They work alongside surgeons, anaesthetists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that surgical procedures are carried out safely and effectively.

ODPs & Nursing: Comparing Roles & Responsibilities

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) and nurses are both crucial healthcare professionals, but their roles and responsibilities differ significantly.

ODPs specialize in supporting surgical teams in operating theatres, ensuring the smooth running of surgical procedures. They are responsible for preoperative preparations, providing anaesthesia assistance, and postoperative care.

On the other hand, nurses have a broader scope of practice, encompassing patient care, administering medication, and promoting overall well-being across various healthcare settings.

ODPs often work in theatres or A&E, whereas the nursing scope can range from hospital wards, community settings and Public Health.

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Career Prospects For ODPs

The demand for ODPs has been steadily increasing in recent years, highlighting the positive career prospects within this field. The aging population and advancements in medical technology contribute to a rising number of surgical procedures, creating a constant need for skilled ODPs.

The employment opportunities for ODPs are available in both public and private healthcare sectors, including hospitals, clinics, and specialized surgical centres. With experience, you may be able to progress to the position of team leader or senior ODP, with the responsibility of managing an operating theatre unit. You could also move into one of three areas: education, research, and training.

Surgical Care Practitioners

Some ODPs move onto take on further training to take on the role of a Surgical Care Practitioner (SCP). As outlined by the Royal College of Surgeons, the role is to assist in delivering high-quality surgical care while working collaboratively with the surgical team.

Key points about the role of a Surgical Care Practitioner:

1) Surgical Assistance- SCPs provide surgical assistance. This can look like: wound closure, suturing, and haemostasis. They work under direct supervision of a consultant surgeon.

2) Patient Assessment and Care – SCPs contribute to patient care throughout the surgical treatment. They undertake preoperative assessments, perform physical examinations, postoperative care, wound management, and pain management.

3) Intraoperative Skills – SCPs possess advanced technical skills, allowing them to undertake specific intraoperative responsibilities. This may include operating laparoscopic equipment, assisting with endoscopic procedures, or undertaking minor procedures.

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Anaesthesia Associate

ODPs with at least three years’ experience and a degree level education can train to become an Anaesthesia Associate. The role of an Anaesthesia Associate involves providing skilled support to anaesthetists. This role plays a vital role in ensuring patient safety and optimising delivery of anaesthetic care.

Key points about the role of an Anaesthesia Associate:

1) Assist anaesthetist in various aspect of patient care, including administration and monitoring of anaesthesia. This ensures safe induction, maintenance, and emergence from anaesthesia.

2) Preoperative Assessment – Anaesthesia Associates perform preoperative assessments, identifying potential anaesthetic risks and pain management.

3) Intraoperative monitoring – monitor patients vital signs, manage intravenous lines, administer fluids and medications.

4) Airway management – this includes insertion of advanced airway devices such as laryngeal masks and endotracheal tubes. They assist in securing patient airways, ensuring adequate ventilation and oxygenation during surgery.

The demand for ODPs has been steadily increasing in recent years, highlighting the positive career prospects within this field… The employment opportunities are available in both public and private healthcare sectors.

Salary And Job Satisfaction

When comparing ODPs and nurses in terms of salary, it is important to consider that nurses generally have a higher earning potential due to their broader scope of practice and potential for career advancement.

However, ODPs still enjoy competitive salaries, and their remuneration varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and the sector in which they work.

Job satisfaction is subjective, but many ODPs find fulfilment in their work due to the specialized nature of their role and the opportunity to contribute directly to successful surgical outcomes.

ODPs are agenda for change on the pay scale. A newly qualified ODP will start off on a band salary (£28,407) and work their way up with experience by applying for higher banded jobs.

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Career Progression For ODPs In The UK

ODPs in the UK have several avenues for career progression. They can choose to specialize in specific areas such as anaesthesia, surgery, or critical care, expanding their knowledge and skills.

Further education and training opportunities are available, including postgraduate courses, which can lead to advanced roles, such as Advanced ODP or ODP Practitioner. With experience, ODPs can also take on leadership positions, becoming team leaders or managers within operating departments.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, becoming an Operating Department Practitioner is a promising career choice for individuals interested in working in the surgical environment and supporting healthcare teams during procedures.

While nursing offers a broader scope of practice and potential for higher earnings, ODPs play a vital role in the operating theatre, contributing to successful surgical outcomes. With the demand for surgical procedures on the rise, ODPs in the UK can expect positive career prospects.

Additionally, the field provides various opportunities for career progression, allowing ODPs to specialize and advance their skills.

Ultimately, the choice between ODP and nursing depends on individual interests, preferences, and long-term career goals.

Thank you for reading.

You can view our listings for ODP roles here.

Read also about:

Mastering Your ODP Interview: Sample Questions & STAR Technique Answers

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About the author

I’m Amira, I qualified as an Adult Nurse over a year ago and I have been working in theatres since qualifying. I am an adult trained nurse working in a paediatric hospital. I specialise in spines, trauma and orthopaedics. Outside of work I am a keen baker and fitness enthusiast.

    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 1224

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