Real-life story - Maggie Williams
Maggie had never heard of an operating department practitioner before a colleague suggested it as a career option. After doing some research and attending some university open days, she decided it was the career for her and applied to start the diploma course.
How I got into the role
In 2004, I joined UK Transplant (now part of NHS Blood and Transplant) as a duty officer and was fortunate enough to work with a wide range of healthcare professionals. I knew I wanted to take my career further in a healthcare role but wasn't sure where to start looking. One day, a colleague suggested I look into becoming an ODP. I'd never heard of the role before but, once I looked into it, it seemed like the perfect career for me so I decided to apply for the diploma course.
After qualifying, I was lucky enough to obtain a job in my clinical placement hospital, Gloucester Royal Hospital, which was great as it allowed me to build my confidence in a safe and supportive environment. I started as a band 5 ODP in anaesthetics and assisted the anaesthetist in the planning and implementation of the patient's care during surgery, for both adult and paediatric patients. I helped check the equipment was safe for use, anaesthetised patients and monitored them throughout their surgery, safely transferring them to recovery afterwards. As an ODP, I act as the patient's advocate throughout their whole theatre journey. The role has allowed me to explore different specialties too, including emergency, general, orthopaedics, trauma, and obstetrics theatres.
What I do
One thing that drew me to becoming an ODP was the career prospects. Just two years after qualifying, I got a senior post at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. In my new band 6 role as a senior ODP, I was able to move into A&E resuscitation, which enabled me to utilise my anaesthetic and major trauma skills in a new setting. I still work within theatres and have added neurosurgery to the specialities I'm familiar with. I am also a team leader and responsible for supporting junior staff, carrying out appraisals, problem solving and implementing new policies and procedures.
My current role is a bit different to the normal ODP role, but it reflects the ever widening remit of the profession. Becoming an ODP has opened a lot of doors for me and I think the role will continue to develop and expand, both within theatres and the wider hospital community.
The best bits and challenges
I love that the job is so varied. I never know what the day will bring – one minute I can be caring for a patient who’s been in a car crash and the next for a young child who is having difficulty breathing.
I enjoy being an active part of the team, where my input is valued, and I get to make a real difference to patient care.