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First Operating Department Practitioner Apprentices complete their studies

In 2020, Megan Vurley-Luckhurst, Daniel Pateman and Kim Capelett were the first to start a new Apprenticeship route into the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) profession. Three years on, they were the first cohort at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) to complete their programme and have recently graduated in a ceremony at Rochester Cathedral.

The ODP plays a pivotal role in theatre, and clinical training takes place almost entirely in the department, providing high standards of skilled care and support during each phase of a patient’s perioperative care – anaesthetic, surgery and recovery. Qualified ODPs also work in other areas from education and research to intensive care, and are a vital part of the NHS workforce.

To begin with, the Apprenticeship programme focussed on the career development of existing staff but has now expanded to include external candidates. At MTW there are currently nine Apprentice ODPs completing their training.

Newly-graduated ODP, Megan Vurley-Luckhurst said: “I loved being part of the first Apprentice course, working alongside the other students from the Trust. Starting this course in the middle of a global pandemic was not easy but on the other hand was very rewarding. I’ve had continuous support from Theatres from the beginning and now that I am a registered ODP.”

Practice Development Facilitator for Theatres, Princy Noble said “We’re really proud of the apprentices’ commitment and achievement. Despite the challenges of the past few years, they have achieved their goal with a lot of hard work and have secured roles in our Theatre teams. They are great role models for career progression as all three were once Theatre Support Workers. This shows what a fantastic career the ODP role is and what an exciting opportunity the apprenticeship route into the profession can be.”

Kim Capelett, said: “I was one of the first apprentices to do the course. Although the course started during the Covid pandemic it was an exciting time to finally start the Operating Department Practitioner apprenticeship with other colleagues from the department. Now that I have completed the course, I am excited to enjoy the job role I have longed for.”