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Applications open for new course giving people the chance to join operating team


Applications are now open for a new course giving people the chance to become a key part of a hospital operating team.

The RD&E and other NHS partners in Devon and Cornwall have teamed up with Birmingham City University to launch a two-year Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) course.

ODPs are a crucial part of the operating department team, working with surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses to ensure that surgery is as safe and effective as possible, providing a high standard of care to patients throughout each stage of their operation.


Students joining the Diploma of Higher Education programme, which is full-time and starts in January 2018, will be based at the RD&E in Wonford, Exeter, but also carry out placements in hospitals across the South West. Key modules of study will include anaesthetic care, bioscience, surgical practice and post-anaesthetic care, alongside other modules which promote effective contemporary healthcare practice.

Dave Thomas, Assistant Director of Nursing at the RD&E, said:  “We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Birmingham City University and our fellow NHS Trusts across the South West to provide a locally delivered Operating Practitioner Course. 

“This partnership will help to secure a local workforce for the operating theatres across the region. To work with our NHS colleagues and with Birmingham City University is an exciting new venture that will benefit our patients in next few years. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our first students early next year.”

Debbie Walford, ODP and Senior Team Leader for the Anaesthetic Support Services at the RD&E, said: “Having the course here in the South West is a really exciting opportunity for us.  Being an ODP is a rewarding career and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in working in an acute hospital.”

Karen Fearon, Head of the Department of Operating Department Practice and Paramedic Science at Birmingham City University, said: “ODPs play a central role in the care of patients throughout each stage of their operation, yet nationally there is a shortage of registered practitioners. This new partnership will play a key role in ensuring workforce needs are met in the South West through the education of knowledgeable and compassionate healthcare professionals who meet the needs of their patients and employers.”

For further information about the course, eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit

Added 30 October 2017

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