27/01/2020 | Press releases

Youngsters gain insight into life in a hospital operating theatre

Theatre support worker Michaela Maskell demonstrates suturing and knot tying

Healthcare workers of the future are going behind the scenes at Colchester Hospital to find out which NHS roles come into play to save lives in a hospital operating theatre.

A series of surgical masterclasses at the Iceni Centre, on the Colchester Hospital site, are giving Year 9 pupils from north Essex secondary schools a unique insight into seven key roles in the Theatres department.

The topics covered in the six, weekly sessions focus on a car accident scenario and the numerous NHS roles involved in looking after those who have been hurt, including:

  • Anaesthetists
  •  Operating department practitioners
  • Surgeons
  • Scrub nurses
  • Theatre support workers
  • Radiographers
  • Recovery nurses
  • Ward / resuscitation officers

Training and education lead for theatres Wendy Hobbs helps one of the students to scrub up


Peter Cook is Assistant Director of Innovation at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital.

He said: “This is the second year the Iceni Centre has run these masterclasses for local students interested in a career in the health service. The enthusiasm and engagement of the students we’ve seen so far is just as pleasing as it was last time around.

“Attendance has been great and it’s encouraging to see how much the children already know. Over the course of these sessions they are getting to understand the range of roles involved in and around an operating theatre. They are hearing first hand from health professionals in these roles, seeing inside a theatre and having a go at practical activities like suturing using some of our simulation equipment.

“We hope this all helps to provide that little bit of inspiration and encouragement towards a career in the NHS.”

The masterclasses have been funded by the Essex Employment and Skills Board (Essex County Council), with the Iceni Centre team recruiting youngsters to take part from Thomas Lord Audley School and Stanway School in Colchester.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Tim Parratt helps the students with their suturing and knot tying skills

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