Each health care profession has a different culture which includes values, beliefs, attitudes, customs and behaviours. Professional cultures evolved as the different professions developed, reflecting historic factors, as well as social class and gender issues. Educational experiences and the socialization process that occur during the training of each health professional reinforce the common values, problem-solving approaches and language/jargon of each profession. Increasing specialization has lead to even further immersion of the learners into the knowledge and culture of their own professional group. These professional cultures contribute to the challenges of effective interprofessional teamwork. Insight into the educational, systemic and personal factors which contribute to the culture of the professions can help guide the development of innovative educational methodologies to improve interprofessional collaborative practice.