Meet Hazel, operating department practitioner

8 July 2015

Hazel Wright is an operating department practitioner (OPD) at the Royal Free London. Here she answers our questions about her work in the NHS.

What is your role at the trust?

My role at the trust is a practitioner that specialises in operating theatre care.  I assist mainly in anaesthesia and airway management, as well as scrub assistance and recovery practices.  I am also required to cover emergency areas such as A&E and the labour ward in an anaesthetic role and I cover these areas out of hours.

What training/qualifications have you done to get to where you are now?

The training and qualifications have changed in the 20 years since I trained and now student ODPs can look forward to gaining a DipHE in operating department practice following two years of study.  A further optional year of study can also be undertaken in order to advance to the BSc (Hons) degree if desired.  Learning is mainly work based with allocated self-directed study and weekly university study. Post qualification there are many other skills and qualifications you can attain. I am a qualified mentor and train staff that come to the theatres, including trainee ODPs student nurses, midwives and paramedics.

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because I enjoy caring for others.  It is also an exciting role that is ever changing.  I am proud to work in the NHS because it is an amazing institute that delivers first class care to so many people.

What is the best thing about your role?

The best thing about my role is the diversity of what I may experience on a daily basis. It is both challenging and rewarding.  It can be very technical and your problem solving skills are often challenged.

Why do you like working at the Royal Free London?

The Royal Free London has great staff benefits, from discounted shopping and gym membership, to online support and advice for staff.  It is now an enormous trust over three main hospitals that has a wide and varied choice for specialties and training.

What would you say to someone considering a career in the NHS?

I would say that it is not always an easy place to work, with challenges that can be frustrating and emotional, but the rewards are worth it.  When you are part of something that is life changing for someone it all makes sense.  Your learning never ends with qualification, your whole career is one long learning curve.

What did you want to be when you were little?

When I was little I always wanted to be a nurse.  As I got older it was definitely A&E or theatres.  It wasn't until I left school that I heard of the ODP training, it ticked all of the boxes for me and yet I'd never even heard of an ODP before!