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Operating Theatre Practitioner


Operating Theatre Practitioners (ODPs) provide high standards of skilled care and support during each phase of a patient’s care in the operating theatre: anaesthetic, surgical and recovery.

You will support the patient on their arrival into the recovery unit and until they are discharged back to the ward, assist the patient prior to surgery and provide individualised care, prepare all the necessary instruments and equipment for operations, such as microscopes, lasers and endoscopes, provide the correct surgical instruments and materials to the surgeon, be responsible for surgical instruments, equipment and swabs during the operation and act as link between the surgical team.

ODPs also act as the link between the Surgical Team and other parts of the operating theatre and hospital. They must be able to anticipate the requirements of the Surgical Team and respond effectively.


You will need:

  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • To be flexible and open to change


You will be expected to have experience in healthcare before you apply to train to be an ODP. Voluntary or paid work in a health care environment such as care or Healthcare Assistant is key.

You will 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. If you opt for the diploma you can choose to top up your diploma to a degree after qualifying. A degree standard apprenticeship in operating department practice has also been approved. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to see if an apprentice position is available with your health care provider.

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