What careers can I do with an Operating Department Practice degree?

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are vital to our healthcare system. This role provides skilled care and support to patients at all stages of an operation and ensures the wellbeing of the patient is at the forefront every step of the way.

The role of an ODP

The role of an ODP is to help assist the surgical team in ensuring that all things run smoothly during an operation. This job role requires individuals to be able to work in high-pressure and fast-paced conditions. While the job can be demanding, it is a rewarding and inspirational career choice as you will be responsible for preparing the operation space for a patient before their procedure. As well as this, you will monitor patients during their operation and provide post-operative care.

The heart of working as an ODP is focused on the patient’s wellbeing. A patient is going to be at their most vulnerable whilst in an operating theatre, so the correct care and attention is crucial. ODPs are trained to be able to follow the full peri-operative journey and provide continuity of care for the patient from pre-op in anaesthetics, through the surgery itself and then in recovery. 


As an ODP, you will work in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, clinics and private healthcare facilities.

As mentioned, ensuring the wellbeing of patients is the key responsibility as an ODP. Surgery is often life-changing for patients and ODPs get to support them through the surgical journey. They need to be able to work with the full range of healthcare professionals and no two surgeries will be the same, which keeps the job interesting.

Other day-to-day tasks include prepping the operating theatre and equipment and monitoring theatre cleanliness and theatre instruments. As well as this, you will be required to keep accurate records of data and have access to ordering and rotating items of stock and drugs. You will be responsible for acquiring specialist equipment if needed for specific procedures. 

Other career options 

This degree path will also equip you for other areas of health care. If you are thinking of studying ODP but want to know other options to take after university, you could also go into: 

  • Surgical Assistant: For more hands-on and technical work, a surgical assistant role desires workers to work alongside surgeons to provide support during procedures. Like an OPD role, you work with the surgeons to keep a secure environment during operations.  
  • Education: If you prefer the research and teaching part of your degree, you can work as a Clinical Educator or within various sectors of research and education relating to your studies. You can work with ODP students who are undergoing what you have already achieved and help shape the future of ODPs by teaching them the necessary skills and knowledge desired to succeed in the industry. 
  • Anaesthesia Technician: As an ODP, you will need to have a professional and personal relationship with your patients. If patient care is something that interests you most, an Anaesthesia Technician role means you will get to work closely with anaesthesiologists to prepare patients for anaesthesia. Whilst under anaesthesia, you will be required to monitor patients and assist with their recovery.  
  • ODPs can also work within organ transplant teams and emergency care services.

Operating Department Practitioners are incredibly important and are in high demand. If you enjoy working under pressure and think you would find a healthcare career rewarding, this degree course may be right for you. Your passion for helping others will make a difference in people’s lives and is an exciting and worthwhile career path.

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