BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Operating Department Practice

UCAS codeB700

Full Time3yrs

A work-based course to develop operating department practitioners

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course develops competent, skilled operating department practitioners and has been designed to meet the national pre-registration curriculum in partnership with the local National Health Service acute Trusts and the private sector.

Work-based learning is a key component and you will develop practical skills in safe, simulated teaching environments. You will also be supervised in using these skills in practice in one of our placement provider operating theatres.

Values and the NHS Constitution

We endeavour to recruit students to our health and social care courses who have the right values base and demonstrate appropriate behaviours. We embed the values of the NHS Constitution throughout our admissions processes and they are an essential part of the curricula. Find out more about the values we look for.

What will I experience?

On this course you will have the opportunities to:

  • Engage in simulated training tasks before putting your learning into action during your clinical placements.
  • Observe, examine, assess and engage with real patients in a number of healthcare settings, supported by experienced practitioners
  • Develop academic research skills to enhance your future practice
  • Contribute to practice-based projects

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is available in full-time mode and provides you with the opportunity to become a competent, skilled practitioner. On graduation, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Operating Department Practitioner.


Sarah Wadham, Year 2 student Operating Department Practice

The University offers state of the art equipment to make simulation as real as possible, with lecturers who have huge experience as ODPs.

Sarah Wadham, Year 2 student Operating Department Practice

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

In your first year you will be introduced to the core sciences including anatomy, physiology and social science. In addition, you will develop your skills in communication and evidence-based practice, alongside being introduced to the profession-specific skills needed for clinical practice.

Core units in this year include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Fundamentals of Perioperative Practice
  • Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • Foundations of Professional Practice 1 (placement)
  • Health, Safety and Infection Control

Year two

In your second year you will further enhance your knowledge and skills in the assessment 
and management of patients in a variety of settings. You will also study research methods, 
data analysis and health service evaluation.

Core units in this year include: 

  • Perioperative Use of Drugs
  • Research Methods
  • Improving Standards of Care
  • Perioperative Care of Specialist Patient Groups 
  • Applied Professional Practice 2 (placement)

Year three

In your final year you will develop your skills in independent decision-making, leadership
and management in practice (under supervision), alongside your independent research
project. You will also put together your own professional portfolio, gathering evidence from
the whole course that demonstrates the outcomes required by the Health and Care
Professions Council.

Core units in this year include:

  • Project
  • Enhancing Professional Practice 3 (placement)
  • Clinical Leadership and Development
  • Complex Perioperative Care

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


Face-to-face learning through lectures, seminars and practical work will make up the majority of your campus-based learning. However, you will also be expected to apply the theoretical and practical components of the course to your hospital placements.


On this course there is a varied blend of assessment methods, which can be subject-specific to follow the direction of your career. Here’s how we assess you:

  • tests (academic or practical/skills based)
  • performance-based clinical practice assessments
  • online assessment
  • academic written work/portfolios
  • objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)
  • presentations
  • project

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 50% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 42% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 47% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 43% by practical exams and 57% by coursework

Tutor's view


Mr Ashley Neve
Course Leader

A degree in Operating Department Practice is more than just gaining an academic award; it prepares you for a lifelong career caring for patients in acute and critical care environments. The integration of knowledge, technical skills and high standards of patient care at such a vulnerable time in a hospital journey is key to this programme.

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Facilities & Features

Centre for Simulation in Health and Care

Our aim is to enhance your learning and experiences through the use of innovative technologies. You will practise profession-specific skills on medical mannequins and experience clinical situations in a safe and supportive environment. The Centre is used to simulate real-life scenarios – a great way to prepare you for the real thing during your placement units (professional practice 1, 2 & 3).

Specialist Training

You will be part of the next generation of healthcare professionals so it is important that you practise your skills and gain relevant experience first-hand. You will be taking part in realistic clinical scenarios using technology-enhanced learning in state-of-the-art facilities. You will act out examinations and treatments using our human patient simulators or our high-fidelity patient simulator. This is also a great way to assess your professional development.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

Initial uniform is provided free of charge. Extra uniform or replacement (not due to fair wear and tear) will be between £25 - £30.

You will be expected to pay for travel costs to and from your placement. The NHS may meet some of the costs incurred.

From 1 August 2017 students in England on nursing, midwifery and most allied health professional pre-registration courses will have access to the standard support package of tuition fee loans and support for living costs, rather than getting an NHS grant. More details: Health Education Funding in England from 2017/18

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This course has an impressive record of successful graduates progressing into careers within operating theatres. It is therefore much more than studying for an academic award; you will be prepared for a role that entails caring for patients at a vulnerable part of their time in hospital and in some critical areas of practice. There is a range of roles that you’ll be qualified to enter within an operating department and this course offers great potential for progression to extended roles.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • surgical care practitioner
  • team leader
  • theatre manager
  • sterile supply manager
  • practice educator

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Approximately two-thirds of your time will be spent in practice placements, supported by clinical mentors and other registered healthcare professionals. The advice you will receive from your mentors, the interaction with patients and real-life experiences you’ll encounter is the best possible preparation for life after study.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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