Magda Woods

Operating Department Practice Degree Apprenticeship – BSc

A degree apprenticeship means Magda can pursue her dream of working within healthcare as an operative department practitioner whilst supporting and prioritising her family.

"About 4 years ago, I started working in part-time in a care home. It very quickly became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in health care and found work within the NHS. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I started working in an intensive therapy unit, where I assisted nurses and operating department practitioners (ODPs). The role of an ODP sparked my interest straight away, I found the broad knowledge and set of skills the ODPs had fascinating. I knew it was something I wanted to do.

The fact that I could achieve this through a degree apprenticeship was great news as it allows me to support my family financially and balance my time between family life and work. The application process was straight forward. I wasn’t sure if having qualifications from Poland would be a barrier for me applying, but I had these documents translated and I was able to apply without any issues.

I knew being a degree apprentice would mean balancing my time sensibly. At first it was a bit overwhelming working fulltime and having university work to complete, but I’ve learnt that with planning and support, it’s achievable. For example, my employers are supportive and give me a study day every week when I have upcoming exams and assignments.

I spend 3 out of every 6 weeks at university, so it’s important for me to feel supported there too. My lecturers are very understanding and have always been helpful to me. Plus, they’re experts in their field and I feel very lucky to be in their lectures and that they’re able to share real-life, on the job knowledge with me to use in my work.

I’ve made the most of the services available to me at the university, such as the library and the Centre for Academic Success. On a more hands-on course, it can be tough to find time for the academic work and leave it until the last minute. The Centre for Academic success were very helpful and have taught me some key skills I can use in my academic work and improve my time management skills. I’ve learnt how to think ahead and plan which has made a big difference.

My favourite thing about being a degree apprentice is being able to utilise the knowledge I’ve learnt at university almost straight away. It’s incredible to see things in practice that instantly improve patient care. Being in the workplace has really built my self confidence and ability to speak up for myself, I know I have the knowledge to back up everything I do.

I am eager to become a qualified ODP and I’d like to progress as a scrub and aesthetic practitioner. I’m excited to continue using the knowledge I’ve learnt and support patients in their perioperative journeys.

To me, ‘I am BCU’ means that I am a part of a fantastic university, where I can learn from experts that will help me in my own career."