Published: 02 August 2016

A week in the life of an operating department practice student

From Concepts of Caring lectures to surgical placements, discover a typical week in the life of first-year DipHE Operating Department Practice students at Surrey.

Operating Department Practice degree students University of Surrey

Typical timetable

The following timetable is a general example - for the latest module information, visit the DipHE Operating Department Practice programme page.


  • 9am to 12pm - Prepare for mock Physical Health Science examination using SurreyLearn
  • 12pm to 1pm - Meet housemates for a picnic by the lake 
  • 2pm to 4:30pm - General reading, including an article on Concepts of Caring to prepare for Thursday’s lecture


  • 9am to 10am - Personal Tutor group meeting
  • 10am to 4pm - Simulation Practice taught session to put theory into practice. Actors play the part of patients to help students develop communication skills
  • 4:30pm to 6:30pm - Revision session with coursemates in Library

“The library quickly becomes like a home away from home - I spend quite a lot of time with my nose in a book taking page after page of notes! The University is good for both the social and independent learner.”

Ashley Hendricks-McKaughan, DipHE Operating Department Practice


  • 9am to 12pm - Prepare for Moving and Handling module next week, including policy and law reading


  • 9am to 10:30am - Physical Health Science lecture
  • 10:30am to 12pm - Discussion session in assigned working group on the cardiovascular system
  • 12pm to 1pm - Lunch at Hillside
  • 1pm to 4pm - Concepts of Caring lecture, looking at the importance of communication in theatres
  • 4:30pm to 6pm - Meet coursemates at the Library and Learning Centre for a study session


  • 9am to 12pm - Revision and study session with coursemates, also working on Concepts of Caring essay

Typical day on surgical placement

  • 7:45am - Arrive at work
  • 8:15am - First case – 53-year-old male with a hernia
  • 8:20am - Wash thoroughly then ‘glove and gown’
  • 8:30am - Prepare patient
  • 8:45am - Hand scalpel to surgeon for the first incision (ODPs keep track of all operating equipment)
  • 9:45am - Operation ends - put on the patient’s dressings
  • 10:30am - Next patient arrives – a 45-year-old woman having a right mastectomy
  • 12:30pm - Lunch 
  • 1pm - Next patient – a 76-year-old male with a possible tumour (abdominal pain)
  • 3pm - Assist with a caesarean birth
  • 5:30pm - Thoroughly clean the theatre for tomorrow 

"I really enjoy being on placement and gaining experience whilst increasing my confidence."

Katy Bridges, DipHE Operating Department Practice


Outside of lectures and library sessions, there’s lots to do during your free time at Surrey.

Campus life

The Students’ Union lies at the heart of campus life. With over 100 sports clubs and societies on offer, it’s bursting with opportunities for you to discover new interests, have fun and make friends. The Union nightclub, Rubix, is a popular choice for nights out, and our beautiful lakeside campus has plenty of places to get a coffee, drink or bite to eat.

Ten minutes to town

The campus is also a short ten-minute walk from Guildford town centre, home to over 70 pubs, bars and restaurants. From ice skating at Guildford Spectrum to watching a film at the Odeon, Guildford has plenty to offer when you’re looking for a well-earned break from your studies.

Further afield

From London to the coast, discover some of the places our students like to visit during their free time at University.

Learn more about our Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery degrees and read what our students have to say about life at Surrey to discover why we were named ‘Best University for Student Experience’ by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016

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