Bronwen is currently working as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) Apprentice in Theatres.
She started at the Trust as a Theatre Support Worker and whilst in this role, heard about the ODP Apprenticeship and decided that she wanted to do it.
One of her reasons for this was because she felt that CUH was a brilliant teaching Trust that could give students a vast experience within multiple surgical specialities.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
I will be assigned to an area that is in line with my current university module i.e. if I am doing a Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) module I will be assigned to a recovery unit. I am then able to apply what I am learning in theory into my practice. I am always assigned to a registered nurse or a registered practitioner and they will teach, lead and guide me to perform the task in line with what is required to achieve on the list of formative competencies.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I enjoy the variety. Within the ODP role and the studies, I have to specialise in three specialities: anaesthetic, scrub and recovery. There is so much to learn, and so many different aspects within all the surgical specialities that CUH offers.
What sorts of things do you do for the off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?
My Apprenticeship is an on-line degree course and each week I am given modules to complete that run over the course of the week. Each week I will have a unit to study, and within this unit there are activities to complete which are submitted on-line; I also have on-line collaboration units with tutors. There is also a significant amount of online reading and research that is required.
Does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work?
My study time is completed at home, except for one week of clinical skills which requires mandatory attendance at the University.
What are your future intentions?
I would like to become a successful registered ODP and to continue learning and enjoying my job.
What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?
To just do it. If it is something you want to do just embrace it, don’t let age stand in your way (I started this apprenticeship at 47). It’s an amazing opportunity, you learn while you work, you are a staff member and included in the team. You will be supported and you need to be self-disciplined and be prepared to work hard, but it will be so worth all the hard work.
The main theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is skills for life. What are the most important skills for life that you have developed in your role?
Communication is a very important tool. If you don’t understand something or you are not sure, speak up. Communicate this and the colleagues will guide you, support and help you to understand, they will instil confidence in you but talking you through what you are not sure of, or what you don’t understand. Communication goes two ways, and includes taking feedback and constructive criticism, which is there to help you learn and improve your practice.