Job type

Operating department practitioner

£26k - £39k

Typical salary

38 – 40

Hours per week

Operating department practitioners (ODPs) support operating theatre staff and provide care to patients at all stages of an operation.

More info

  • Provide vital support and care during operations in hospitals
  • You'll need high levels of concentration, attention to detail and calmness under pressure
  • Opportunities to progress into supervisory roles and into the management of operating theatres

As an operating department practitioner, you'll support patients before, during and after surgery. This will include assessing them after surgery to make sure they can be taken back to the ward.  

You're also likely to have a coaching and mentoring role if you're based in a department with trainee ODPs. In some NHS Trusts you may be involved in training other healthcare professionals, like trainee paramedics.


  • Preparing the operating theatre and equipment
  • Making sure specialist equipment is available for specific procedures
  • Monitoring theatre cleanliness
  • Ordering and rotating items of stock and drugs
  • Providing the surgical team with the items they need during an operation
  • Monitoring instruments
  • Keeping accurate records


You'll usually work within an anaesthetic, surgical or recovery team, but you might also work in accident and emergency, intensive care, day surgery clinics, maternity units or resuscitation teams. 

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, and your working environment might be hot, and physically and emotionally demanding.

You'll need

For this role, you'll need knowledge of medicine and dentistry, patience in stressful situations, thoroughness and attention to detail, sensitivity and understanding, flexibility and openness to change, customer service skills, excellent verbal communication skills, and the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure.

You'll then need to gain a diploma or degree in operating department practice approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Paid or voluntary experience in the health or care sector before you apply for a course.

You may be able to apply for NHS funding for an approved course and get help towards the cost of your tuition fees and living expenses.

You might get into this role through a degree apprenticeship as an operating department practitioner.

You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).


With experience, you may be able to progress to team leader or senior ODP and manage an operating theatre unit. You could also move into education, training and research. Some ODPs take further training approved by the Royal College of Surgeons to work as surgical care practitioners.