Operating Department Practitioner Integrated Degree Apprenticeship BSc (Hons) *

Work-based, part-time, degree apprenticeship undergraduate (39 months)

Chelmsford, Blended learning, Cambridge


This course is delivered through blended learning: face-to-face teaching and learning in practice, supported by online learning resources.


Mapped to the Operating Department Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard at Level 6, this course aims to develop a range of essential skills within all areas of the perioperative environment, encompassing care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. You’ll gain a BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree while you work, with fees funded by your employer and the Government.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description
We are delighted to support this innovative development from Anglia Ruskin University. Our experience of apprenticeship routes with ARU is that staff exit apprenticeship healthcare programmes with the skills and knowledge required for contemporary healthcare practice.
Tony Bottiglieri
Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects and current innovations in practice.

On successful completion you will be able to apply to be a Registered Operating Department Practitioner (RODP) with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Career opportunities are wide-ranging in the UK and overseas, and include:

  • anaesthesia
  • recovery
  • management
  • education
  • sterile supplies
  • transplant teams
  • intensive care units
  • A&E
  • helicopter emergency services
  • patient transfers

Modules & assessment

Level 4 modules

  • Introduction to Perioperative Practice
    Gain the knowledge, skills and experience to begin to communicate and respond competently, with care and compassion, to a variety of patients in the perioperative environment. You’ll begin to explore how psychological well-being can impact on recovery and the importance of patient focused care and empowerment, and peer-assess technical and non-technical skills (caring, compassion, communication, team working, decision-making, and situation awareness).
  • Principles and Practices of Anaesthesia
    Develop your skills in the field of anaesthesia with our Principles and Practices of Anaesthesia module. You’ll cover the basic principles of anaesthesia and relevant pharmacology to achieve the basic knowledge required to function as a member of the anaesthetic team, while taking into account the broader issues of physics, environmental factors and legal and ethical issues. It also provides an introduction to anaesthetics and will act as the foundation, to be built upon in more depth, when you progress to our next anaesthetic module, Care of the Patient Undergoing Anaesthesia.
  • Exploring Aspects of Anatomy and Physiology
    Human anatomy and physiology is more than just interesting - it is fascinating. A sound foundation of the knowledge of how the human body works is crucial to the provision of quality care for the patient. This module will equip you with knowledge of the various systems in the human body, and begins to introduce you to their interactions with one another. Body systems will initially be related to normal physiology, and will be closely linked with your concurrent module, Principles and Practices of Anaesthesia, enabling you to gain an understanding of how the body works, and importantly how physiology can change in the perioperative environment. Appreciate the uniqueness of the human body and how it functions, its relevance to care, and how essential basic knowledge can be further explored and developed in subsequent modules. Distance teaching sessions working through online content, applying learning to clinical practice, preparing and engaging in learning activities, formative assessment, webinars, reading and assessment preparation, videos and podcasts. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on a series of worksheets, quizzes and other interactive activities throughout your learning.
  • Holistic Care of the Surgical Patient
    This module provides the opportunity for you to achieve the basic knowledge to function as a member of the 'circulating' or 'scrub' team. It gives an introduction to the surgical environment and the principles and practices of infection control and sterile techniques. It also allows you to gain the knowledge and skills to utilise various surgical equipment and the associated risks to the patient. It’ll cover the importance of communication, maintaining confidentiality and equality for all individuals. Finally it will allow you to explore relevant anatomy and physiology to various minor/intermediate operative procedures.
  • Practical Concepts in Anatomy and Physiology
    You’ll build on the knowledge gained in our Exploring Aspects of Anatomy and Physiology module and begin to understand the processes involved in abnormal physiology. Considering different service user groups, you’ll study the anatomy and physiology of concepts such as wound healing, inflammation and infection, and begin to investigate the physiology behind some of the common causes of surgery, such as cancer, fractures, growths and disease caused by infection or inflammation.

Level 5 modules

  • Care of the Patient Undergoing Anaesthesia
    During clinical placements in this second year, your breadth and depth of knowledge will need to be enhanced to facilitate a deeper understanding of anaesthetic techniques. You’ll now need to develop not only practical skills but also the critical thinking skills necessary to function as a reflective practitioner. This module will provide you with the knowledge and experience to recognise, communicate and respond competently, with care and compassion, when a patient’s clinical condition indicates that they are becoming acutely unwell. You’ll explore how psychological well-being can impact recovery and the importance of patient focused care and empowerment. As you gain more relevant practical experience relating to more enhanced anaesthetic techniques, you’ll develop critical analysis skills, argument construction and presentation skills. The theoretical input provides you with underpinning knowledge required to function in the role of anaesthetic practitioner during advanced anaesthetic techniques.
  • Perioperative Pharmacology and Physiology
    This module will span two trimesters and aims to build on the concepts covered at Level 4, allowing you to apply the principles of perioperative pharmacology to patient physiology during surgical procedures. You’ll gain an enhanced understanding of perioperative pharmacology, including the demonstration of knowledge of monitoring and responding to the effects of various classes of drugs on the patient in the perioperative environment, while also considering concepts of changing haemodynamics, homeostasis and the effects of the stress response and shock on the body. It’ll also consider the legal aspects of pharmacology in the perioperative environment, relating to correct storage, preparation and recording of drugs, including controlled drugs.
  • Promoting Best Practice in the Operating Theatre
    Explore the ever changing roles and responsibilities of perioperative practitioners. In practice you’ll advance your clinical skills by participating in intermediate and major procedures as a scrubbed or circulating practitioner, allowing you to develop the knowledge and skills required to function as a valued member of the multidisciplinary team. At university, this will be underpinned by examining critical incidents from the workplace in depth, allowing you to identify areas of poor practice and use evidence to improve on these. You’ll investigate the root causes of critical incidents, discovering that these incidents can be incredibly complex and related to many different factors, and that they may not be due to the factors perceived at first glance. You'll explore factors influencing patient safety and wellbeing through a combination of reflection, critical thinking and incident analysis looking at the interventions, as well as exploring human factors and the legal and ethical issues surrounding patient safety.
  • Post-Anaesthetic and Acute Care
    You'll explore how psychological well-being can impact on recovery and the importance of patient focused care and empowerment. You'll peer assess technical and non-technical skills (caring, compassion, communication, team working, decision-making and situation awareness) during the module delivery and in your clinical practice. The aim of this module is to equip you with knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes required to function as a recovery practitioner delivering a high standard of quality care to both post anaesthetic and critically ill patients. Skills in recognising the deteriorating patient and necessary treatment interventions will also be developed.

Level 6 modules

  • Research Methods
    Gain the necessary tools to undertake research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods of inquiry. This module will serve to aid your critical analysis of the results of research articles read and prepare you for your Major Project. It’ll build on those transferrable skills introduced from the beginning of the course, and will look at the development of a research project from conception to completion, concentrating on the forming and shaping of a study using a variety of approaches. You’ll develop an understanding of the use of statistics in research, and some of the statistical data analysis techniques used in medical and scientific literature. It’ll also create an appreciation for the rationale involved in making the correct choices when undertaking research, and evaluating the relative ‘strength’ of evidence-based practice in healthcare.
  • Enhanced Clinical Skills in Perioperative and Clinical Care
    You’ll consolidate the clinical skills you have already gained in the first two years of the course, building on them and learning new skills which will be of benefit to you in the clinical environment. In practice you’ll have competencies to achieve across the perioperative and critical care environments, but you’ll also have the opportunity to visit specialities which you have not yet covered, work the full 24 hour shift rotation pattern and enhance your leadership skills in order to allow you to graduate as a well-rounded and valuable qualified ODP. Sessions at university will be largely based in our state-of-the-art facilities, incorporating SimMan, simulation suites and theatre skills laboratories.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The individual final project module allows you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research or technology development project that will be focussed on a topic relevant to your studies. You will discuss your project topic with tutors and your supervisors to ensure sufficient academic challenge and research feasibility. The project may be in the form of primary research (e.g. laboratory, human or questionnaire-based data, clinical service evaluation, clinical placement, or other relevant acceptable sources), the development of medical technologies, or in the form of an extended literature review. The chosen topic will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate using suitable methodologies, process and analyse data, critically analyse, appraise and present findings using suitable methods or media.
  • Leading Teams in the Perioperative Environment
    Effective leadership is essential to providing high quality practice in health and social care settings. This module is designed to introduce you to the theory and practice of team roles and responsibilities as well as team leadership during the change process, so you may start to develop the necessary leadership skills to become an effective professional practitioner within your workplace. Examine change at a personal, departmental and organisational level and how it may be facilitated and potential barriers overcome.


The learning outcomes of the BSc (Hons) course have been mapped to the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB) in the apprenticeship standard to ensure you are prepared for the completion of your apprenticeship.

To make sure you’re developing the skills and knowledge needed for professional practice, we use a range of assessment methods. These include essays, presentations, exams, critical reflections and analysis, project work and assessment of practice competencies in the clinical setting.

By completing all modules, you will have acquired 340 credits to trigger the End Point Assessment gateway. With confirmation from your employer, this will give access to the final 20-credit module – the integrated EPA. All apprentices are required to undertake an End Point Assessment (EPA) to complete their apprenticeship. For this Apprenticeship, the EPA involves:

  1. Professional Discussion of 60 minutes that demonstrates your integration of the KSB in your practice.
  2. A live observation of your practice in your workplace for 90 minutes where you will be observed in providing perioperative care to an individual or succession of individuals.

Where you'll study

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Blended learning
Person using laptop

Study at a time that suits you, using our learning management system.

More about blended learning

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Degree apprenticeships are fully funded by your employer and the Government


Entry requirements

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Essential requirements:

  • Employment on a permanent contract of more than 30 hours per week (ideally 37.5 hours)
  • Evidence of Level 2 Mathematics and English which meets the ESFA requirements
  • Evidence of Level 3 study (A levels, BTEC/NVQ L3, Access to Healthcare, or equivalent)
  • Note: Applicants without level 3 qualification but with experience working in a relevant healthcare setting will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applicants will be required to:

  • Complete an Initial Needs Assessment to ensure they meet the funding eligibility
  • Attend an interview to demonstrate insight into the ODP profession
  • Undergo enhanced Disclosure and Barring System screening prior to registration on the course (funded by ARU)
  • Undergo occupational health screening
  • Complete the Care Certificate within 3 months of commencing the course.

Studying during COVID-19

Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the majority of our apprenticeship courses are being delivered online only using our established online learning systems. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however the University remains committed to delivering teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment for those that are on campus.

View the impact of the current restrictions.

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