Undergraduate Course
Available for September start

Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 10 weeks

UK fee

£875 (2024/25)

Course level


Start dates

September, January, May



The highlights

This online Surgical First Assistant Certificate of Credit course is for registered practitioners (Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) or Nurses (RN)) working in a UK-based perioperative setting. This course will provide you with the necessary skills and underpinning knowledge to develop and practice enhanced surgical skills within the role of a Surgical First Assistant in line with latest professional guidance and recommendations (PCC 2018).

Competence of the required clinical skills to perform the Surgical First Assistant role, will be achieved through work-based learning with supervision by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional or clinician. A clinical practice portfolio will be required to document learning experiences and competence in addition to evidencing 100 hours of supervised practice performing the skills associated with the Surgical First Assistant role.

Course content

2 medical staff wearing gloves and scrubs during an operation
5 medical staff performing an operation wearing scrubs
2 medical staff in scrubs performing an operation

What you will study

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

lady sitting at laptop with headphones

Online Discovering Online Learning webinar: August 2024

Thursday, 8 August 2024 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online student with the University of Derby.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

This 10-week course is completed entirely through online learning alongside your supervised clinical practice.

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete this 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

Your competence to perform the role of the Surgical First Assistant will be assessed through:

You must be supervised in clinical practice and have protected / dedicated time to perform the role of the Surgical First Assistant as part of the surgical team under the supervision of an allocated assessor/ supervisor (determined by your Employer).

As part of the clinical portfolio, you will be required to evidence a log of having undertaken 100 hours performing the role of the Surgical First Assistant under direct supervision, to demonstrate competence of the required skills.

You will need to be allocated an appropriate clinical supervisor, a consultant surgeon, to provide your clinical supervision whilst you undertake Surgical First Assistant duties. You will also be supported by assessors (mentors) who are registered professionals, competent in the skill or the aspect of competency being assessed. The Assessor / Mentor may be a Surgical Care Practitioner, experienced SFA practitioner or theatre educator.

You will also be allocated an academic assessor to support you throughout your module and hold regular tripartite review meetings, with yourself and your employer, to determine progression and completion of competencies being undertaken in the workplace. Note: confirmation of competence is completed by your allocated supervisor/ assessor (mentor) in the workplace.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

Programme leader

Ann Bates

Entry requirements

You must be able to meet the following criteria to apply for this short course:

Prior to commencing this course, it is recommended that you have completed, or have arranged to complete, an in-house catheterisation course to ensure local policy is followed whilst completing these associated duties as part of the Surgical First Assistant role.

Please note: Confirmation of named Supervisor and additional assigned assessors (including their support) will be required at the start of module study, by the module leader.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language, an IELTS of 7.0 (or equivalent) in all areas is required.

Find out more about our English language requirements

Fees and funding

2024/25 for new entrants

Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK £875 1 x 20 credits £875

About your fees

Prices are correct for the year of entry shown. These are subject to annual increase in subsequent academic years.

Flexible payment plan available

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

Other courses you might like