Operating Department Practitioner

The Role(s)

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) work with other medical staff including anaesthetists, surgeons and theatre nurses to make sure procedures in the operating theatre are as safe and effective as possible.

ODPs have an important role in the three phases of peri-operative care which are

* the anaesthetic phase e.g. assisting the patient before surgery, preparing specialist equipment and drugs

* the surgical phase e.g. working alongside the surgeon, providing the correct surgical instruments and materials 

* the recovery phase e.g. assessing and monitoring the patient 

ODPs can work in a wide range of areas including transplant teams, orthopaedic clinics and special care baby units.

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Useful skills include:

* strong communication skills

* a caring and understanding manner

* team working


Useful abilities include:

* the ability to work with people 

* the ability to work with different equipment and materials

* the ability to manage your own time and work schedule

Entry Requirements

GCU is the only university in Scotland to deliver the BSc in Operating Department Practice which is a 3 year full time course. 

You will need SQA Highers at BBCC with English and Biology recommended, plus National 5 English and Maths or equivalent qualifications. 

Graduates of this course are eligible to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at




Contact your local Board to find out if these Modern Apprenticeships are available in your area.

Learning and Development

It is possible to become a senior ODP, perhaps taking managerial responsibility for the staffing and overall management of Operating Theatre Suites. 

There are also opportunities in research, education and training.

Professional Bodies

Operating Department Practitioners are professionally registered members of staff who are subject to the Health & Care Professions Council  (HCPC) Standards of Conduct, Proficiency and Continuing Professional Development.


College of Operating Department Assistants (COPD)


Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP)