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My story - Recently Qualified ODP

Recently qualified operating department practitioner (ODP) currently working on the NHS frontline


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I am a recently qualified ODP (within two years) - I’m still hanging onto the recently qualified for as long as I can. Since qualifying I have completed four months of anaesthetics and 14 months on orthopaedic and trauma scrub therefore my airway and anaesthetic skills are developing.

We have been having regular crash course sessions on looking after both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients (ICU ventilated and non-ventilated). This is scary as hell.

A significant proportion of our staff have been signed off due to government advice and also a significant amount of staff simply cannot handle the situation and are off with stress or other issues.


I am based down in the South West and so far have been reasonably lucky that we have not had a “surge” as of yet. However every single day I and my colleagues are texting and contacting one another to check how the situation is going and it almost feels as if it’s the calm before the storm. We are having sessions on proning ICU patients and moving and handling and general ventilation, drug infusion and airway skills. Also basic skills such as mouth and personal care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ICU patients.

Our normal busy theatre space has been divided into a unit for “clean” ICU patients and COVID-19 overflow once the capacity for ICU has been breached. This has of course been a bit of a challenge for everyone and trying not to walk through the wrong doors!

The ICU nurses have been fantastic. Not only have they found their own roles stretched but they are also taking the time to reassure the theatre staff that we will not be abandoned or left out of our comfort zones and competencies at any point (hopefully).

We have been lucky with regards to PPE at the moment. Although we have not had the surge as those in London for example, but many of our items are out of date.  We have been reassured by the companies and management that these are still safe to use, but of course this spreads a sense of uneasiness around camp.

As much as the situation is crazy and almost worthy of an apocalypse film, I feel lucky I can go to work every day and mix with friends and colleagues. It keeps some sense of normality day to day.


The constant snacks and gifts of food and overwhelming love for the NHS has kept us all going - although there is a worry that we will all be ten stone heavier after this is all over!


In your words
Operating department practitioners
Page updated on: 28/04/2020