Today, May 14, is National ODP Day which celebrates the work of Operating Department Practitioners in the NHS. 

This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring the next generation’ to encourage ODPs everywhere to spread the word far and wide. 

ODPs work in three key areas; anaesthetics, surgery and recovery. They play a vital role supporting patients before and after surgery.

They will monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other physiological signs and provide appropriate interventions and treatment until the patient has recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia and/or surgery and is stable.

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Chris McBride an ODP at North Cumbria Integrated Care said: "I was a 19 year-old electrician when I started. I was always interested in people and would often find myself chatting to patients while repairing nurse call systems or attending to faulty bed pan machines. 

"The move came in 2001 after the death of my 21-year-old sister, she’d had cancer and had been very well looked after by Sister Ellen Stoddard, the staff on ward 6, Mr Hugh O’Brien and Dr Teresa Storr. 

"I worked as a Health Care Assistant in theatres opposite my electrical shifts. The matron at the time suggested I make the jump and the rest is history. I did a two year Diploma of Higher Education then a degree in Critical Care.

"This gave me the opportunity to further advance my career and I am now almost finished my Master’s degree in advanced clinical practice and, while I now work as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in the ENT department, I still help out as an ODP when required, old habits."

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There are 40 ODPs at the trust in north Cumbria, Chris explains that to be one you have to have "lateral thinking, nerves of steel and a good sense of humour."

Mr McBride added: "We tend to be an outspoken bunch!  ODPs are now found outside the traditional theatre setting. This Trust is very supportive of ODPs working in advanced roles.

"Nationally there are less than 30 ODPs in senior clinical roles and this Trust has at least three with even more currently undergoing advanced training. So statistically we employ a high percentage of Advanced ODPs nationally."

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