Walsall Healthcare is proud to celebrate its Operating Department Practitioners today and highlight the vital role they play.
They are part of the MDT (multi-disciplinary team) operating theatre team that is able to work across its three main areas of anaesthetics, scrub and recovery.
Staff offer skilled and personalised high levels of hands on care to patients from when they arrive in the anaesthetic room to when they leave recovery to go back to the ward.
They have a wide range of skills and are involved in:
- the preparation of specialist equipment
- the application of aseptic technique ensuring things remain sterile
- wound management and infection control
- the management of all surgical instruments, swabs and instruments throughout the procedure
- the monitoring of patient observations
- providing appropriate interventions and treatment
Clinical Theatre Services Manager, Louisa Adams, originally from Penzance in Cornwall is an ODP and joined Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust in January 2020. Her job role is to lead and develop theatre services to ensure high quality and safe care within all of the operating theatres whilst maintaining efficiency and staff health and wellbeing.
She became an ODP in 2001 qualifying in the private sector and moved into the NHS in 2005 to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. Whilst there, she progressed to becoming a Recovery Lead and then into the Theatre Manager role.
Moving to Russells Halls Hospital as the Theatre Duty Manager in 2015 she gained experience within an acute trust, completing her masters in Healthcare Leadership in July 2017, and then moved to Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust in September 2017 to undertake the Theatre Matron role before her current role.
When asked what she loves most about the ODP role the 44-year-old said: “As an ODP the variety of the role each day enables you to use your skills in a different setting, you could be scrubbing for a list and then the next day be working in recovery or assisting anaesthetists so no two days are the same. As patient care is given on a 1-1 basis the ability to focus exclusively on the care of one individual is rewarding as well as working as part of a team all focused on the same outcome”.
The role of an ODP does not come without its challenges however with Louisa revealing that some surgical cases can be long; “the longest procedure I have been involved in was over 15 hours so you need to have plenty of stamina.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also given the ODPs in Walsall theatres extended learning opportunities to expand and utilise their skill set in the maintenance and management of patients within ICU.
Louisa said: “They have all risen to the challenge and have been phenomenal in their willingness to expand their professional development through this opportunity to ensure our patients are being well looked after.”
She would like people to know: “The ODP role is one that is not often publicised, the role is very rewarding as it is patient facing and offers the opportunity for you to offer hands on care within the 3 areas of per-operative care anaesthesia, scrub and recovery.
“The important thing for me is that the role is expanding all of the time to build on the skills learned in training to widen the opportunities available.
“ODPs can expand into becoming anaesthesia associates, resuscitation officers, advanced critical care practitioners, research practitioners, university lecturers, departmental managers, surgical care practitioners, quality improvement facilitators and the list is continually growing.”