Supporting patients through surgery

Posted on Wed, 18/10/2017 by Angela McPhee, Operating Department Practitioner

Angela McPhee

"I feel very privileged to be in the position I am, to care for patients during some of their most worrying times in hospital."

I have worked for the trust for the past 15 years. I started working as a phlebotomist and was lucky enough to be seconded to go to university in 2009, to train to be an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP). I qualified as an ODP in 2011 and have since worked within the Operating Theatre Suite.

ODP’s work in various specialist areas of a hospital. They can work in Surgery assisting the surgical team, in outreach teams, in Critical Care Departments and in Resus to name a few. My role is as an Anaesthetic and Recovery ODP. I provide skilled support to the anaesthetist during the anaesthetic phase of surgery and to the patient after their anaesthetic in the Recovery room.

There are never two days the same but a main area of my role is to be the surgical patients advocate throughout their perioperative journey. This means ensuring the patient is cared for in a very safe environment and with dignity throughout their surgery. Safety of my patients is of the highest priority and my role includes providing the equipment that is needed to deliver a safe anaesthetic and recovery is available and that my knowledge and skill to undertake this role is of the highest standard. I also conduct checklists with the rest of the team to confirm the identity of the patient and planned surgery this is a safety check that is required by the World Health Organisation.  I also pride myself on being able to reassure patients who may feel anxious at this time. Being able to build up a rapport with someone so that they feel safe and cared for comes from being confident and competent in my ability and also being able to find some good conversation to make the patient feel more at ease. My role centres mainly with elective surgical patients but also includes emergency care. This requires detailed knowledge and skills to care for someone during an emergency procedure including obstetric emergencies and requires continuing professional development to guarantee I provide the very best care during these critical times.

As part of my role as an ODP I also undertake yearly Immediate Life Support (ILS) training. This assists me in being a Basic Life Support (BLS) cascade trainer for my department and deliver mandatory training to my colleagues. I have completed my mentorship training at University this year which allows me to assess students in the practical setting and demonstrate their skills and competencies before being entered onto the professional registers as professional practitioners. 

I have recently become an ambassador for the trust with the Academy of Fab NHS stuff. This is a movement that helps link trusts up and down the country so they can share their best practices and highlight all of the positive things that staff are doing to improve patient and staff care.

I am very passionate about my role as an ODP and in my spare time I work with other ODP professionals in raising the profile of the profession.

I feel very privileged to be in the position I am to care for patients during some of their most worrying times in hospital. I have met some wonderful patients in the last 6 years and have cared for some people several times now. The Operating Department is such a great place to work because of the people who work there and their dedication to their patients and safety.

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