On Monday 5 July 2021, the NHS turns 73! After an extraordinary and challenging year, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the successes of this special institution and the lifeline that the NHS provides. We asked Ellie Milner, BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice first-year student, what she will be celebrating, why she values the NHS and why she loves working in a NHS team.
It’s the birthday of the NHS, which is something I believe we all need to celebrate. Every single one of us will use or has used the NHS at some point in our lives. It saves lives on a daily basis and improves the lives of patients and their families. I’m particularly thankful for the NHS as it’s had a significant effect on the lives of my family and me. As a family, we haven’t always been blessed with good health and our lives have been saved more times than I can remember.
The NHS has influenced my life in so many ways. From spending most of my childhood and young adult life in hospital to now spending most of my adult life in the NHS. The only difference this time… I’ve got the scrubs on and I’m helping to make the difference to other’s lives. As a Student Operating Department Practitioner, it can be a challenge being on placement. Turning up day in, day out and not really knowing what the day holds. However, it is also the best step towards a career that I’ve ever taken, and it’s an opportunity I’m particularly thankful for.
Over the last few months, I have been on placement with an incredibly supportive team within NHS Operating Theatres. I have spent time ‘scrubbing’ for procedures, which includes ensuring that the sterile field is not breached, and our patient is kept at the centre of it all. I’ve spent time in recovery helping patients in that scary time, as they wake up from their anaesthetic and in anaesthetics, where I help the anaesthetist to safely put patients to sleep for their surgery. It is such a privilege to be part of a patient’s journey, keeping them safe and advocating for them whilst they are at their most vulnerable.
The tasks we undertake as Student Operating Department Practitioners can be extremely challenging, however we are so well supported in our theatre environments. Working or being on placement within the NHS means that you’re part of the ‘NHS family’ and we all stand by each other and support one another on the best and worst days.
I have spent a great deal of time over the last few months reflecting on what have been the ‘best bits’ of my placement. I realised that it isn’t all the technical aspects and the highly skilled care (I do thoroughly enjoy that part though!). It is the human side within the NHS, patients come to us in the anaesthetic room scared of the unknown, potentially during one of the worst times of their lives. To be able to reassure them, hold their hand and let them know that we are looking after them… that’s the best bit. I’ve been the other side of the hand holding, and the simple act of someone holding your hand in a scary time makes more difference than any words ever could.
Let’s celebrate the NHS’s birthday today, thanking each and every individual who helps keep the NHS going. Think of all those professions that work behind closed doors, not for thanks, but to be there for patients and families during some of the best and worst moments of their lives!
We would like to thank all our health students, who are working hard for careers in the NHS, our academics for all their support and the NHS for the amazing service its provides and will continue to provide for each and every one of us.
Interested in studying BSc (Hons) ODP?
Find out more information by visiting our BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice (ODP) course page.