Undergraduate study
Operating Department Practice

DipHE Operating Department Practice

UCAS code: B991 DipHE/ODP

Operating department practitioners work as skilled practitioners supporting the multidisciplinary team, working alongside anaesthetists and surgeons caring for surgical patients at all ages and levels of dependency.

Course information


  • Length: 2 years

More full-time details

2016 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details


£500 cash available to kick-start your degree – for travel, accommodation or other living expenses

Eligibility criteria apply


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(National Student Survey 2016)

Why choose Teesside

Note: this course is closed for September 2016 entry.

From September 2017 this course will only be offered as BSc (Hons) in Operating Department Practice Studies and will run over three years.This patient-centred course prepares you with the knowledge, skills and competencies to ensure that you can contribute fully to healthcare delivery in a dynamic surgical environment. Throughout this course you will gain experience across a variety of specialist theatre areas including general surgery, orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat, obstetrics, surgery, anaesthetics and recovery.

Throughout the course, as part of the placement experience, you will be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.

Early exposure to practice and lengthy placements, where you are allocated to NHS hospital trusts promotes continuity of practice experience. This enables you to develop the essential skills and knowledge necessary for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. As with all healthcare professionals the public place a high level of expectation and trust in their operating department practitioners and therefore to work in this sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution:

  • working together for patients
  • respect and dignity
  • compassion
  • improving lives
  • everyone counts.

Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to apply for registration to the Health and Care Professions Council.

Please note 100% attendance is expected during this programme.

Supporting information for applicants

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Throughout the course you gain the relevant foundational knowledge and skills needed to work within the perioperative environment. You will gain an understanding of perioperative pharmacology, relevant anatomy and physiology, infection control, and the legal and ethical concepts surrounding theatre care.


Year 1 core modules

Anatomy and Physiology for Operating Department Practice

You gain foundation knowledge for anatomy and physiology, relevant to operating department practice and you apply that knowledge to the practice environment. The main focus is major organs and organ systems with reference to physiological parameters and the concept of homeostasis. There is an emphasis on relating theory to practice and developing the knowledge and skills required to carry out safe and effective patient assessments. Lectures, seminars and group work is used to deliver the module with three half day sessions in a science laboratory.

Clinical Practice 1 for Operating Department Practice

You develop your essential core theatre skills and commence the integration of theory and practice. At the end of this module you are able to work as a circulating practitioner. This module spans the full first year of the ODP Diploma programme and is worth 60 credit points. The module is centred upon both University and placement-based learning, with the main teaching strategies being key lectures, skills workshops and learning in practice. While you are in placement you are managed by the ODP Practice Placement Educator (PPE) who ensures that you are placed in a variety of scrub, anaesthetic and recovery placements to allow for the integration of theory to practice. Both academic tutors and PPEs are available for tutorial support. E-learning@tees or e-learning is available for you to access teaching materials. This module embeds the University requirement of a Progress File within it by the inclusion of a SWOT analysis, appraisals and tutorials.

Foundations of Operating Department Practice

We introduce you to the specialist evidence-based knowledge underpinning the current peri-operative practice and an understanding of anatomy and physiology for operating department practice. The main areas covered by this module are the principles of the peri-operative care environment, and safe practice within the theatre environment including the principles and safe use of peri-operative equipment and an understanding of transcultural perspectives in relation to clients within the theatre department.

Legal, Ethical and Professional Concepts in the Operating Department

You look at the professional, ethical and legal concepts which underpin professional practice in the operating department.

Key lectures introduce you to the nature of professionalism, important professional issues and concepts, ethical theories and principles and legal issues. Teacher-led seminars discuss relevant professional concepts and the application of the ethical theories, principles and legal aspects to the professional concepts.

Case studies are used to generate student discussion to deepen your understanding of the above issues. In relation to the key concepts you are asked to observe and feedback on how these concepts are addressed in practice.

By developing your understanding of the above, you also develop professionalism and problem-solving skills and as a result are able to assess situations from a professional, legal and moral viewpoint and therefore able to come to more effective decision-making.


Year 2 core modules

Clinical Practice 2 for Operating Department Practice

This module spans the full second year of the ODP Diploma programme and is worth 60 credits. The module is centred upon both University and placement-based learning, with the main teaching strategies being key lectures, skills workshops and enquiry-based learning (EBL). You develop your self-directed learning skills through enquiry-based learning. EBL allows you to consider all possible outcomes to a given scenario rather than looking for only one solution. As this encroaches on both normal and abnormal anatomy this element of the module runs with the module Advancing Peri-operative Care. E-learning@tees or e-learning is available to allow you the opportunity to access teaching materials, and a discussion site is available for you to discuss areas of EBL. You develop the knowledge and skills to actively participate in the patient care associated with theatre interventions, and the decision-making process in relation to prioritising, co-ordinating and implementing care. You are placed by the PPE in a variety of theatre placements to develop competency in the three areas of operating department practice – anaesthesia, surgery and recovery. The PPE and academic tutors are available for tutorial support.

Developing Perioperative Care

You develop your ability to apply, relate and analyse the specialist evidence-based knowledge underpinning the current peri-operative practice. The main areas you cover are the relation of normal and abnormal anatomy, application of safe practice within the peri-operative care environment to ensure individual patient care, principles of safe and effective utilisation of specialised peri-operative clinical equipment, use of equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice within the theatre department.

Pharmacology for Operating Department Practice

You develop your understanding of pharmacology, specifically drug groups used for patients undergoing operative clinical procedures. You develop your knowledge of the methods of storing, handling, preparing and administration of drugs in the operating department environment. You also develop the ability to monitor, assess and respond to the effects of drugs on patients. This incorporates the local and national legal requirements relating to drug handling and administration, a sound knowledge of anatomy and physiology relating to pharmacology, and local and national requirements relating to infection control.

Utilising Evidence for Practice

You gain the skills necessary to become an evidence based practitioner, expanding your knowledge, understanding and practical experience in a number of areas.

You develop skills in constructing focused questions relevant to practice and the practical skills necessary to plan and undertake a structured search to find appropriate research evidence as well as a sound theoretical knowledge of the research methods underpinning quantitative and qualitative research studies.

This enables you to critically analyse research evidence relevant to your practice and consider its application to practice.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

60% of the course is completed within NHS and private operating theatres throughout the North East region where you will engage in supervised operating department practice. The remaining 40% of the course is completed within the University setting, based around key lectures and seminars. Practical workshops will be a key feature within the simulated theatre suite.

How you are assessed

Each module is assessed separately, using a variety of methods including examination, practice portfolio and written assignments.

Career opportunities

The qualified operating department practitioner is trained in all areas of theatre work and can specialise in surgery, anaesthetics or recovery. They can develop their role through teaching and management. New areas of practice are also opening up to the operating department such as accident and emergency and intensive care units. Career opportunities exist within NHS trusts and private hospitals, primary care trust clinics and the armed forces.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 160-165 tariff points from two or three A levels and GCSE passes at grade C or above including English language and maths (or equivalent), or pass QAA recognized Access course in a health or science subject with a minimum of 18 level 3 credits at merit. For further detailed entry requirements for this course please visit www.ucas.com.

You must also be eligible for a Department of Health bursary (more info on the
NHS Student Bursaries website).

You can apply without health and social care experience but you are expected to visit a theatre department before your interview.

The selection process includes shortlisting of your application, following which, if successful you will be invited for an interview. The interview panel will consist of an academic, practitioner and user/carer of services.

Shortlisting criteria
Your application will be measured against the following criteria:
  • your ability to complete all sections of the application form fully and correctly
  • the level of all qualifications and grades are specified
  • appropriate academic entry requirements achieved or predicted
  • evidence of successful level 2 academic study over the last five years
  • personal statement supportive of your chosen programme and which demonstrates an understanding of the uniqueness of the profession and the role of the professional
  • satisfactory references.

If you are invited to interview and the date is not suitable we may not be able to offer you an alternative date due to the high volume of applications received for this course - but it is important that you contact the Admissions Office immediately.

Interview criteria
At the interview you will be measured against the following criteria which is mapped against the NHS Constitutional Values (DH, 2013):
  • knowledge of chosen profession/career
  • an appreciation of the demands of the programme and chosen profession
  • enthusiasm for the programme/profession
  • ability to communicate effectively verbally and non verbally
  • potential to become a professional
  • person-centred approach.

If you are successful in both shortlisting and interview you will receive a conditional offer which is subject to the following:

  1. evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications
  2. a successful work based risk assessment which will reflect the HEOPS recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
  3. a satisfactory DBS disclosure - please note that any warnings, cautions, allegations or convictions received in the last five years may have implications for your continued offer on the course
  4. satisfactory references.

Please note until 1 to 4 have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

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Course information


  • Length: 2 years

More full-time details

2016 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

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