Registered Charity No. 257040 • Tel: 02392 725141

Royal Navy Life Story

‘I am an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) in the Royal Navy which means that my primary role is working in the Operating Theatre. The three main aspects of my job include working in Anaesthetics, where I assist to prepare patients for anaesthesia; surgical scrub where I aid the surgeons by providing them with the right instruments and equipment during the operation; and in recovery, where the patient recovers after surgery. Unique to the Royal Navy, ODP’s are also qualified sterile services managers where we are able to decontaminate instruments after surgery. I am on HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of its medical capability; as a Royal Navy ODP we operate in multiple environments both on land and at sea, working in the desert, mountains, jungle and arctic. Becoming an ODP has been one of my biggest achievements so far as this gave me the opportunity to further my education at university fully funded by the Royal Navy. I find the role very interesting and dynamic and it promotes working in a team environment as well as autonomously. There is scope for ODP’s to begin to expand their roles into other departments such as the Intensive Care Unit (ITU) and the Emergency Department (ED) especially when deployed in a small team. A few years ago I was a part of helping with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean where the Royal Navy was involved in rescuing those at sea and getting them to a safe location. The medical team on-board was involved in looking after the migrants until we could get them to safety, and we received the George Beeching Prize for Compassion as a result of our involvement. The experience itself was at times emotionally challenging but at the same time I felt a sense of achievement knowing that we were doing something positive by providing aid to those that needed it. Through this experience I was able to appreciate some of the different countries and cultures in the Mediterranean. I have endured many challenges on my naval journey however I have managed to overcome those obstacles to get where I am today. Working in the Royal Navy has made me a more determined, adaptable and resilient member of the armed forces and I look forward to what the future has in store for me.’

LMT Santina Graham

Source: Royal Navy