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Neeve Johnson - Operating Department Practitioner (Integrated Degree) Level 6

Neeve currently works as an Operating Department Practitioner Apprentice in Theatres. She started at the Trust as a Theatre Support Worker and was introduced to the apprenticeship programme by the Theatre Education Team.

Neeve chose to study for her apprenticeship at CUH because she knew it would give her the opportunity to learn different specialities, be well supported as a student and also earn a salary at the same time. She also chose this apprenticeship because, as a student, she would get to learn every day in the workplace, which would enhance her knowledge and skills.

Neeve Johnson  Operating Department Practitioner  (Integrated Degree) Level 6

What does a typical day look like in your role?

A typical day on anaesthetics starts off by checking the theatre lists and setting up for the day. This includes:

  • Checking theatre equipment and the anaesthetic machines
  • Setting up the airway trolley, fluids and any warming or positioning equipment needed
  • Team brief with the theatre team to discuss the list and patients, and ensure we have all equipment needed
  • Assisting the anaesthetist with patient intubation and extubation
  • Patient documentation
  • Transferring patient to recovery
  • Cleaning and setting up for the next patient

As a student ODP you also get to do Recovery and Scrub so we do so much more.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy learning about why and how different procedures are being done, as well as providing patient care in the perioperative environment, which is often a very vulnerable time for patients. I really enjoy the teamwork aspect of the job, as we all work as a big team and help each other if needed. It’s a team effort and we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs without each other.

What sorts of things do you do for the off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?

The ODP apprenticeship is an online degree course; we get given a study day every week. I have module work to do each week as well as unit activities; I am productive with this, as I can do it at home on my study day at a pace that suits me. I also have module collaborative sessions to attend and essay writing.

I document my placements and work hours in my online journal, as well as filling out competencies, as I am always on placement full-time.

Does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work? We access all our learning virtually online so this can be done at home or in a library.

It’s a really convenient way of learning while being fully supported by the university and the Education Team in theatres. Once a year we visit Derby University for our clinical skills week, where we learn a lot about clinical scenarios, policies, and standards we need to succeed when qualified.

Our academic work is done at home and all of our practical, clinical and on-the-job learning is completed at Addenbrooke’s.

What are your future intentions?

I plan on becoming a qualified ODP at the end of my course in May 2024, and staying at Addenbrooke’s after my degree to develop my skills and knowledge to further my career at CUH. My end goal is to be qualified and working in theatres at CUH.

What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?

Use the knowledge and skills of your colleagues as much as possible to gain knowledge and facilitate your learning. Ensure that you make time for your studies and stay on top of assignments and module work.

I think it is important to take every day as a new learning opportunity and always go in with a goal you want to achieve that benefits your learning.

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?

I have learned vital life skills that will not only help me succeed in my job but I can use in my daily life. I have developed attention to detail and learned how to work under pressure (you never know what might happen in theatres), and I have been able to react appropriately to difficult situations. I have gained problem-solving skills and methodical thinking and have been able to develop compassion and empathy which help me to better support my patients.