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How Do I Become an Operating Department Practitioner?

Jessica F. Black
Jessica F. Black

Education and experience are needed to become an operating department practitioner, which is a title that is exclusive to the United Kingdom (UK). A higher educational degree is usually required to enter this profession, and schooling may take up to two years. Aside from education, you will need to gain experience through training programs and/or part-time employment in the field. This position is extremely important in patient care during surgical procedures, and there are personality traits that you will need to possess to become an operating department practitioner. Your first step should be to research schools that offer the necessary programs needed to practice in this field.

Due to the small number of schools that specialize in this area of expertise, you should apply to several programs in order to increase your chances for acceptance. These programs are designed to intertwine academic coursework with hands-on training that will prepare you to become an operating department practitioner. This profession involves anesthetic, surgical, and recovery stage patient care, and the two year program will equip you to execute all three phases. In order to enter these programs, you must be at least 18 years old and have completed the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), which is a series of examinations that includes sections on mathematics, English, and science. You will need to research the GCSE score requirements for each program because they may vary depending on the school.


In addition to education and training, you will need to have a compassionate personality and strong interpersonal skills to become an operating department practitioner. Most positions will require that you are well organized, responsible, and display professionalism. Some data entry and other office work may be required, so you should have technical writing abilities and be familiar with medical computer programs as well as other medical equipment.

Once you become an operating department practitioner, you will need to be prepared to execute all stages of the surgical procedure. The anesthetic phase will require that you communicate and prepare the patient before surgery. Due to the different cases, this portion of the job requires individualized care and you will need to be familiar with each patient's case. Surgical phases allow you to work closely with the surgeon and assist during surgery. During the recovery phase, you will need to monitor the patient's behavior and vital signs while they recover from the anesthesia.

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