Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings

Interprofessional Learning


Every profession has its own roles, skills and responsibilities making for efficient practices in managing patient care, however these professionals cannot work in isolation to the benefit of the patient/service user without the collaboration of other health care professionals that make up the multi-disciplinary team.

In the late 1980s, the World Health Organization recognised that, if health professionals were taught together in a multi-professional educational setting and learned to collaborate as a team during their student years, they were far more likely to work effectively together in their professional lives in a clinical setting (WHO, 1988).

As a result over the last 20 years Inter-professional Education (IPE) in University Health and Social Degrees has become a fundamental component of curriculum content to include opportunities for students to work with and learn from other health and social care professionals and students in order to help them understand the importance of teamwork in providing health care.

The most widely used definition of Inter-professional Education is from the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE):

"Interprofessional education occurs when students or members of two or more professions   learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care (CAIPE 2013)


Benefits of Interprofessional Education include:

For patients: improved planning and coordination of personalised care, an enhanced patient experience with positive patient outcomes.

For students: the understanding of the value of good team working and the importance of effective communication across the immediate and wider team.

For practitioners: the opportunity to share their specialist knowledge and skills with learners and reflect on their own practice and development.

UK Government policy emphasises the need for effective collaborative working in the NHS to provide optimal and safe patient care. Over the last thirty years health and social care policy has evoked Interprofessional education as a means of enhancing interprofessional collaboration, reducing the fragmentation of services and promoting high quality patient care.

The need for effective inter-professional learning and teamworking has unfortunately been highlighted in cases were ineffective team working has been to the detriment to patient care.

Victoria Climbie

The Victoria Climbie Inquiry

In 2000 in London, UK, an eight-year-old Ivorian girl Victoria Adjo Climbié was tortured and murdered by her guardians.

The Bristol Royal Infirmary

The Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry

At the Bristol Royal Infirmary, babies died at high rates after cardiac surgery. The scandal resulted in cardiac surgeons leading efforts to publish more data on the performance of doctors and hospitals.


The Shipman Inquiry

The Shipman Inquiry was the report produced by a British government investigation into the activities of GP and serial killer Dr Shipman.

Baby Peter inquiry

Baby Peter

Peter Connelly was a 17-month-old British boy who died after suffering many injuries over an eight-month period, during which he was repeatedly seen by Haringey Children's services and NHS health professionals.

Francis Report

The Francis Report

Scandal at Stafford Hospital following an investigation identifying high death rates.


Social Care Institute for Excellence

Social care TV-Safeguarding adults: lessons from the murder of Steven Hoskin. He was murdered by people who targeted him because of his learning disabilities.

At the University of Southampton the understanding of each other's roles, and the importance of collaborative learning and working are a core theme throughout the programmes of our health care degrees.


CAIPE is the UK based Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education. CAIPE aims to promote and develop interprofessional education (IPE) with and through its individual, corporate and student members, in collaboration with like minded organisations in the UK and overseas, for the benefit of patients and clients.

Privacy Settings