Brown, Steven (2014) Developing ODP student placements. Journal of Operating Department Practitioners, 2 (2). pp. 90-95. ISSN 1746-7357

In a similar way to nursing and other health professions, elements of the education of operating department practitioners (ODPs) can only be contextualised by clinical practice involvement (Stockhausen and Strutt, 2005; Higginson, 2006; Morgan, 2006). The importance of high-quality placement experiences for all UK health professions is widely acknowledged (Quality Assurance Agency, 2001). Prior to 2009, students on the Diploma in Higher Education ODP programme undertook four clinical placements in the same Trust or organisation. At the time of the project there was a shortfall in the number of placements available and, although the university explored placing students in different clinical areas, such as private healthcare providers and new areas in the NHS, none could provide the full learning experience for students to achieve the required competencies. The course team developed a system that uses placements in a variety of settings and ensures students can gain the required outcomes. The new approach involves auditing for individual placements, instead of for the full course duration. Students are now informed throughout recruitment and selection events that they should be undertaking placements in a minimum of three different organisations. Students now move to a different organisation with every experience, to gain a variety of clinical knowledge. This has resulted in the greater use of clinical placements and the development of new areas for students to gain experience. The benefits of students’ experiences have increased, as they can develop skills and understanding of the ODP role from different perspectives.

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