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Undergraduate study
Nursing & Health

Operating Department Practice Degree Apprenticeship

This operating department practice (ODP) degree apprenticeship is for learners who are employed as healthcare workers and you as the employer is willing to support their professional development.


Degree apprenticeship
Linked Level 6 University award: BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice Studies


Course overview


The apprentice studies alongside learners on the BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice Studies course for 35 weeks each year. During university breaks and at the end of each academic year, the apprentice continues to work with their employer as usual.

ODPs are a vital part of the multidisciplinary perioperative theatre team, providing a high standard of patient-centred care during anaesthesia, surgery and post anaesthetic care (recovery). The apprentice works across a variety of surgical specialities assisting anaesthetists and surgeons alongside the wider multidisciplinary team. This patient-centred course prepares them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to ensure that they can contribute fully to healthcare delivery in a dynamic and fast-moving surgical environment. This course leads to the achievement of the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Operating Department Practitioners (ODP).

The apprentice gains early exposure to practice and experience across a variety of specialist areas, for example, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, ear, nose and throat, obstetric surgery, anaesthetic and post-anaesthetic care. Working within the organisational theatre department, the apprentice develops essential skills and knowledge, supported by evidence-based learning in the University with lectures, seminars and practical activities in our clinical skills labs and simulated operating theatre. There is a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and clinical decision making throughout the course as they work towards achieving the requirements for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Half the course is completed within the practice environment where the apprentice engages in supervised practice. They work alongside experienced clinical staff following various shift patterns including nights and weekend working to gain the maximum learning experience. The academic course components are completed within the University setting with lecture rooms and simulation suites on campus and online through the VLE for off-campus students. 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 the apprentice is able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution:

  • Working Together for Patients
  • Respect and Dignity
  • Compassion
  • Improving Lives
  • Everyone Counts

In Year 1 and 2 of the course the apprentice gains the relevant foundational knowledge and skills needed to work within the perioperative environment. They also gain an understanding of perioperative pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, infection control and the legal and ethical concepts surrounding theatre care. In the third year this progresses to leadership and management experience and advanced skills.

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Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Anatomy and Physiology for Perioperative Care

You explore relevant topics in anatomy and physiology for operating department practice which informs your practice in relation to assessing and caring for patients in the perioperative environment.

You focus on major organs and organ systems with an emphasis on homeostasis, the systems assessed and physiological parameters that are measured in perioperative patients.

Where appropriate, some basic principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics are incorporated to provide a fuller understanding of anatomical structures, physiological processes and physiological parameters. There’s an emphasis on relating theory to practice and developing the knowledge and skills required to carry out safe and effective patient assessment.

Foundations of Perioperative Care

You are introduced to the foundation knowledge for perioperative practice with an emphasis on reducing the risks of infection in the operating department. Using an evidence-based approach and making reference to local and national guidelines and policies, this module introduces the principles of safe perioperative practice. Where appropriate, selected content from human biology, physics and chemistry is included. Within the context of infection prevention, you recognise your professional responsibilities and apply given tools and techniques to justify your practice. This equips you with the basic knowledge and understanding of key principles required to enter the practice environment.

Legal, Ethical and Professional Concepts in Perioperative Care

This module considers the professional, ethical and legal concepts which underpin professional practice in the operating department.

Perioperative Practice Year 1 for ODP

This module develops your knowledge and skills to actively participate in patient care associated with theatre interventions linked to portfolio competencies. You’re placed in a variety of theatre placements to work towards developing competency in the three areas of operating department practice – anaesthesia, surgery and recovery.


Year 2 core modules

Clinical Decision Making in the Perioperative Environment

You develop your ability to apply, relate and critically analyse evidence-based knowledge that underpins current perioperative practice. The main focus is on clinical decision-making and the effective use of the assessment process to ensure individualised care and applying safe practice within the perioperative environment.

You develop the knowledge and skills to promote independent learning whilst exploring the wider legal, ethical and governance issues that contribute towards the advancement of contemporary perioperative practice. You choose a specific aspect of perioperative care to use as the basis to demonstrate the effective application of theory to practice.

Perioperative Evidence Appraisal

You develop your knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice and the quantitative and qualitative research methodologies that underpin it. By formulating questions, searching literature and critically appraising research evidence you develop practical skills in key aspects of the evidence-based practice process. The module prepares you for your final-year independent project – you’re encouraged to focus on an aspect of service improvement that is relevant to your area of work.

Perioperative Pharmacology

You develop your operating department practitioner understanding of pharmacology, specifically drug groups used for patients undergoing operative procedures. You do this through a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars delivered over seven days and followed by a summative unseen exam. The module develops your knowledge of the methods of storing, handling, preparing and administering of drugs in the operating department environment.

Perioperative Practice Year 2 for ODP

Following on from Perioperative Practice Year 1 for ODP, this module further develops your knowledge and skills to actively participate in the patient care associated with theatre interventions linked to a portfolio of competencies.

You are placed in a variety of theatre placements to develop competency in the three areas of operating department practice - anaesthesia, surgery and post anaesthetic.


Final-year core modules

Advancing Perioperative Practice for ODP

Gain the practical skills and knowledge you need to achieve the Health and Care Professions Council proficiency standards for operating department practitioners (ODP). You are taught over 12 three-hour sessions in the first 12 weeks. The rest of the module is practice-based, where you work with mentors to maintain competencies that you have learned previously, as well as developing a range of advancing clinical skills. These include interpreting blood gases, urinary catheterisation and intravenous cannulation.

Developing Leadership and Service Improvement Skills for the Future Ready Healthcare Professionals

Develop your knowledge and understanding of healthcare, statutory and professional policy and explore their impact on patient care, practice and service delivery. Consider theories and concepts relating to personal and professional development, such as leadership, human dimension of change and quality improvement. You need to provide evidence of your development using an e-portfolio, demonstrating critical reflection and action planning. This ensures you are prepared for the demands and expectations of your future healthcare professional role.

Dissertation for Health Professionals

Consolidate and further develop the knowledge and skills you gained during previous modules. You carry out your project which includes completing an ethics application and all supplementary documentation. You are allocated a supervisor, who provides?up to eight hours of individual support through an appropriate method of communication. Taught sessions are on data collection, analysing and synthesising meaningful data, and writing for publication.

Preparation for Mentoring and Coaching in the Operating Department

Learn the skills you need to meet the standards of proficiency 4:6 for supervising, mentoring and training. You apply theory to the practice environment, preparing you for a future role as an associate practice coach or educator.?


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The apprentice engages in key lectures, seminars and workshops. Practical workshops are a key feature within the simulated theatre suite where they practice in a realistic safe environment using SimMan technology to enhance their learning.

How you are assessed

Each module is assessed separately, using a variety of methods including examination, completion of practice portfolios, poster presentations and written assignments. In year 3 of the course, there is a specific apprenticeship End Point Assessment which includes professional discussion and observation of the learner's practice in the clinical setting.

Our disability services team helps apprentices with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Apprentices should:
> be employed in an appropriate perioperative healthcare setting
> have GCSE grade C or above in English and maths, or functional skills level 2 or equivalent and be able to produce
the certificates
> provide evidence of their ability to work at Level 3 in an appropriate perioperative environment, for example NVQ Level 3
or equivalent
> demonstrate the appropriate values and attitudes for the programme through an interview with the employer and University

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Work placement

Depending on the apprentice's place of employment, they may be able to meet the requirements of the course within their own Trust. However, there may be occasions when they work in a different hospital or a different Trust to gain the necessary experience and to develop the necessary knowledge and skills in order to meet the required standards of practice.

Career opportunities

As a qualified ODP, the apprentice is trained in all areas of theatre work and can specialise in surgery, anaesthetics or post-anaesthetic care. They can develop their role through teaching or pursue theatre management roles. New areas of practice are also opening up to ODPs such as accident and emergency and intensive care units. Career opportunities exist within NHS hospital trusts and private hospitals, primary care trust clinics and the armed forces.


Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the course the apprentice is eligible to apply for registration to the Health and Care Professions Council.

Degree apprenticeship

A degree apprenticeship combines vocational work-based learning with study for a university degree. Designed in partnership with employers, degree apprenticeships offer it all - a higher education qualification, a salary, and invaluable practical experience and employment skills.

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Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK applicants

More details about our fees

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years
  • Start date: September

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  • Not available part-time

Service user and carer involvement

Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

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