A day as an operating department practitioner

You're working the late shift today, and at arrive at your local NHS hospital at 12pm. Your first task is to help the anaesthetist with the afternoon's operations, so you make sure that all the drugs and equipment are ready, and take some extra time to chat to one of the patients who is feeling anxious. Then you're off to the emergency theatre. You put on your sterile gown, and pass instruments to the surgical team during a lengthy operation, after which you monitor the patient until they are fit to return to the ward. You're just thinking of having a quick break when the bleep in your pocket summons you to A&E where a casualty from a road traffic accident has arrived. When the patient has been stabilised, you finish at 10pm- ready for another fast-paced day tomorrow.

Does this sound like you?

You're reliable, have plenty of common sense and can concentrate for long periods of time. You can keep calm under pressure, have plenty of stamina and work well in a team.

What's next after GCSE?

Although some universities will let you apply directly for a diploma of higher education (Dip HE) in operating department practice (which qualifies you for this role) with five A-C GCSE grades (or the equivalent), ideally you will need level 3 qualifications. So it's vital to check the requirements of individual institutions.

What's next after A level and beyond?

To train as an operating department practitioner, you'll need to do an approved Dip HE or degree in operating department practice. For degree courses, you'll typically need 3 A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications). Check the entry criteria of each university offering the courses you're interested in as each one sets its own.