Emma Jones is an Operating Department Practitioner at Bradford Teaching Hospital, here she tells us about her inspirational career progression.
I completed an access to Higher Education Diploma, Level 3, along with Level two Maths and English. Having left school with minimum GCSEs I struggled at school and my keen interest was cooking and baking and I wanted to become a Chef.
I worked in a café from the age of 15, and then at 17 got a job as a catering supervisor in a busy hospital. As part of my role, I saw all of the healthcare staff coming and going, and knew I wanted to make a difference to patient’s lives.
I returned to college full time and worked at the hospital part time. I wanted to become a midwife in theatre as I had never heard of what an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) was. Someone suggested to me that I may want to become an ODP instead. After I researched what an ODP was I knew it was the job for me and my career as an ODP began.
I didn’t really know what to expect from becoming an ODP, I never thought I would be able to get a qualification as I was dyslexic and didn’t get the help I needed at school. It was only when I got to college and university that I got the help and support I needed and now I have blossomed.
Every day is completely different. My role is unique as part of an ODP is to scrub, anesthetics and recovery and only an ODP can do all three roles but many just stick to one or two of these aspects of the role where as I am lucky enough to do all three.
I work in a busy acute hospital and we work 24/7. I could be working in anesthetics in the morning, collecting the patient, checking them in, putting a cannula in, and assisting the anesthetist. In the afternoon I could with assisting the surgeon, putting catheters in the patients then recovering the patients and assisting with give Intravenous drugs and post-operative monitoring. Then in-between that I could get called to resus or maternity. I love how a ODP’s job is so versatile and I am part of the patients journey, pre-operatively, peri-operative and post-operatively.
I love how my job has made me even more of a chatterbox; it’s a running joke at work that I know a patient’s life story before they get anaesthetised. I can emphasise with a patient as I have a few emergency surgeries and understand how the patient must feel.
You need to be really good at listening and have good communication skills. Also not to be squeamish as there can be lots of blood and gore.