Background: Interprofessional competence can be defined as knowledge and understanding of their own and the other team members' professional roles, comprehension of communication and teamwork and collaboration in taking care of patients.
Aim: To evaluate whether students perceived that they had achieved interprofessional competence after participating in clinical teamwork training.
Method: Six hundred and sixteen students from four undergraduate educational programs-medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy-participated in an interprofessional course at a clinical education ward. The students filled out pre and post questionnaires (96% response rate).
Results: All student groups increased their perceived interprofessional competence. Occupational therapy and medical students had the greatest achievements. All student groups perceived improved knowledge of the other three professions' work (p = 0.000000) and assessed that the course had contributed to the understanding of the importance of communication and teamwork to patient care (effect size 1.0; p = 0.00002). The medical students had the greatest gain (p = 0.00093). All student groups perceived that the clarity of their own professional role had increased significantly (p = 0.00003). Occupational therapy students had the greatest gain (p = 0.000014).
Conclusions: Active patient based learning by working together in a real ward context seemed to be an effective means to increase collaborative and professional competence.