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Are you enthusiastic, great with people and keen to make a living improving and saving lives?
Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are an essential part of the surgical team. They take care of patients, prepare the operating theatre and surgical equipment, and act as a vital link between the surgical team, other hospital departments and patients.
Our BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree course, which we've developed with local NHS Trusts and the private sector, provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to work in this demanding and rewarding role.
- Practise examinations and procedures on human patient simulators in our Centre for Simulation in Health and Care, one of the country’s leading healthcare teaching environments
- Spend more than 50% of your time gaining experience in real operating theatres and wards at our partner hospitals and NHS Trusts, with one-to-one mentorship from a registered healthcare practitioner
- Become eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Operating Department Practitioner when you graduate
Experience studying Operating Department Practice at Portsmouth
The course is BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice.
That allows you to qualify and then be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council for the protected title of Operating Department Practitioner and their role is to support the other healthcare professionals such as the anaesthetists, the surgeons to actually undertake their roles as well.
So they're there really to sort of back everybody up and have the knowledge and skills to assist, but also recognise when things probably are going slightly wrong and rather than wait to be told to know what needs to happen.
The topics we deal with is very much the fundamentals issues between anaesthesia, surgical and the recovery phases.
We start to look at things like specialist patient groups.
So we're talking about paediatric patients, obstetric patients, our elderly patients, and that's because their physiology is slightly different.
So the knowledge and the actual care we give them is slight difference.
So we start to expand and look at those specialist areas.
The facilities we have at the University of Portsmouth that we use inside the course, we have a what we call a lot of simulation areas.
It means we can recreate real situations that students will come across with patients when they're working in care or practise, but it allows them to practise their knowledge and skills in a safe environment.
The course is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council, and that means that once they succeed and get their Operating Department Practise degree, they can then apply for registration for the protected title of a principal practitioner.
There's quite a raft of different avenues that your career can take you.
We've had ODP students have studied here that they now work in roles such as Resuscitation Leads in hospitals.
The University of Portsmouth really values its students and looking after students, whether that be from a wellbeing side, whether it be for advice and obviously also the teaching.
And certainly student satisfaction would suggest that that's one of the things that they really like.
My favourite part of this course is watching the students develop over three years into to practitioners.
of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course
(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)
for Anatomy and Physiology in the UK
(Guardian University Guide, 2024)
BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree entry requirements
- A levels - BBB-BBC
- UCAS points - 112-120 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include 32 points from a Science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science, Sports Science, PE) (calculate your UCAS points)
- T-levels - Merit. Acceptable T Level Subjects:
T Level in Health, T Level in Healthcare Science, T Level in Science
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
- International Baccalaureate - 29
- All shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in support of their application, including NHS values based recruitment.
- Applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Occupational Health checks before starting the course.
- The Department of Health requires all new Exposure Prone Procedures (EPP) workers, including students, are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The consent, test and managed process of results will be carried out by our Occupational Health Department.
- If successful, applicants will be required to declare if they have been subject to any disciplinary procedures of fitness to practice by any other regulator, professional body, employer or educational establishment.
You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
We look at more than just your grades
While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.
Values and the NHS Constitution
We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.
You'll gain the practical ODP skills and confidence you need in our safe and realistic Simulation Centre.
You'll practise on our high-fidelity patient simulators in our mock operating theatre and wards, before applying your learning on clinical placement in real hospitals.
The University offers state-of-the-art equipment to make simulation as real as possible, with lecturers who have huge experience as ODPs.
Careers and opportunities
The role of an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) is to care for patients undergoing surgery in hospital, from preparing the operating theatre and anaesthetic, to ensuring the surgical team have the equipment they need during an operation and supporting patients as they recover.
ODPs are vital to the safe and effective running of an operating theatre, and many are need in both the NHS and private healthcare sector in the UK, now more than ever. As many operations were postponed due to the pandemic, there is high demand for Operating Department Practitioners to help patients get the surgery they need.
Once you complete this Operating Department Practice degree, you'll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which you'll need to work as an ODP in the UK, in areas including anaesthesia, surgery and recovery.
With more training, you could become a surgical care practitioner able to carry out some surgical procedures, under supervision of a consultant surgeon.
We use a mixture of teaching styles including our simulation centre to develop the skills and knowledge you will need to undertake the exciting role of the Operating Department Practitioner. We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure the course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
What jobs can you do with an Operating Department Practice degree?
As a registered Operating Department Practitioner, you'll be able to progress and develop towards roles such as:
- surgical care practitioner
- advanced critical care practitioner
- team leader
- theatre manager
- sterile supply manager
- practice educator
- research fellow
As an Operating Department Practitioner in the NHS in 2021, you could expect a starting salary of £25,655 moving up to £31,534 (Band 5).
With more experience as a senior ODP or team leader, you could earn from £32,306 to £39,027 (Band 6).
Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate
Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.
Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.
The BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice course has 100% progression to employment as an Operating Department Practitioner for graduates who successfully apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Some of our HCPC registered graduates have gone on to undertake the following roles:
- Research Fellow at University Hospital Southampton
- Theatre Manager
- Resuscitation Officer at University Hospital Southampton
- Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth
- Surgical First Assistant
You'll need work experience in real hospital settings before you can become an Operating Department Practitioner, so on this course you'll spend more than half your time on clinical placements.
On each placement, you'll have one-to-one expert support and guidance from a personal mentor based at that hospital or NHS Trust. As a registered healthcare practitioner, your mentor will be there to advise you throughout and oversee your placement experience.
Each year of your course includes one work placement module in a clinical setting. Placement locations are liable to change, but recent students have completed placements at:
- Portsmouth NHS Trust QA Hospital
- Southampton General Hospital
- BMI Healthcare, Winchester
- St Richard's Hospital, Chichester
- RSC Hospital Brighton
- Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath
We can also help you find further relevant work experience during your course to boost your career prospects further. We help you identify placements, internships, and voluntary roles that will complement your studies.
What I enjoy most about my course is clinical placements, being able to apply theory in practice when in emergency situations and being part of team that saves someone's life has been very rewarding.
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.
What you'll study
Core modules in this year include:
- Foundation of Evidence Based Practice – 20 credits
- Foundations of ODP Professional Practice – 40 credits
- Fundamentals of Perioperative Practice – 20 credits
- Science Informing Practice – 40 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Applied ODP Professional Practice – 40 credits
- Engaging With Service Improvement – 20 credits
- Evidence Based Decision Making – 20 credits
- Perioperative Care of Specialist Patient Groups – 20 credits
- Perioperative Use of Drugs – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Complex Perioperative Care – 20 credits
- Enhancing Operating ODP Professional Practice – 40 credits
- Leading Safe and Effective Care – 20 credits
- Project – 40 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Changes to course content
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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed through:
- tests (academic or practical/skills based)
- performance-based clinical practice assessments
- online assessment
- academic written work/portfolios
- objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- face to face lectures
- live online lectures
- recorded online resources
- practical simulation work
- hospital placements
There's a joint focus on this course between theory and practice, both in academic and real-world settings.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
Teaching staff profiles
These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
A typical week
You'll take part in scheduled study blocks for up to approximately 20 hours a week and in placement activities for roughly 37.5 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll be involved in timetabled activities such as tutorials, lectures and workshops alongside independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching by your third year.
Due to clinical placement time requirements, the leave for BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice over Christmas and Easter break is a week shorter than university term dates.
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
This course isn't currently open to International and EU students.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional funding – at least £5,000 a year
Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding through the NHS Learning Support Fund of at least £5,000 a year. The bursary is non-repayable and is in addition to any other support you are eligible for, including Government student loans.
For more information, including eligibility criteria, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
Your uniform is included as part of your course fee, but you’ll need to pay £20–£50 for extra or replacement uniforms. You won’t need to pay for a replacement due to fair wear and tear.
You’ll need to pay the travel costs associated with your placement, though the NHS may meet some of these costs.
How to apply
To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – B700
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
Sorry, this course isn't currently open to international or EU students.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.