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Students explore NHS careers during practical insight day

May 5, 2023

Alton College students were recently offered a unique and eye-opening opportunity to participate in a 350+NHS Careers pilot project.

The project named ‘Spotlight Day’, was aimed to highlight the role of an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) within the NHS and enabled students the chance to gain first-hand experience of this integral yet lesser-known role.

Students were greeted by a range of industry professionals including Helen Lowes, National AHP, Education and Training Lead at Health Education England, and qualified ODPs Joshua Bulleyment (Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth) and Bethanie William (ODP & Practice Educator for Main Theatres, Isle of Wight NHS Trust). In addition, students were given the opportunity to take part in a range of practical activities to increase their knowledge and to fully immerse themselves in the role of an ODP.

The day began with the chance to observe an operation streamed live from University Hospital, Southampton in which students were also able to ask a range of questions to Dr Aiman Alzetani, a cardiothoracic surgeon, and the wider team to ensure they fully understood the role and the importance of an ODP during surgery. Students were then able to take part in a variety of tasks in which the qualified ODPs and current ODP degree students demonstrated and assisted with, alongside the use of realistic equipment.

Kat Millmore-Davies, Education Outreach Lead for the 350+ NHS Careers Programme, says:

“Thank you to HSDC Alton for hosting this invaluable day. It was great for the college students to be able to speak with ODPs working in NHS Trusts across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, gain hands-on experience with our practical tasks and join live surgery, meeting the surgical team and seeing what a critical role ODPs play in our operating theatres.

The students were so enthusiastic and finished the day with a much deeper understanding of what an ODP is. I very much hope our Spotlight Day has inspired them to consider this role and the NHS as a great place to build a career.”

The overall aim of the 350+ NHS Careers Programme is to help young individuals discover the wide range of career options on offer and therefore we welcome regular events in collaboration with 350+ NHS Careers as they are extremely beneficial to our students. The programme previously teamed up with Alton College last year when launching a mock operating theatre which was invaluable, and we, therefore, look forward to hosting more events in the future.

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