Development of interprofessional healthcare teamwork skills: mapping students' process of learning

J Interprof Care. 2022 Jul-Aug;36(4):589-598. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2021.1936470. Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Higher education institutions commonly prepare future healthcare workers to engage in increasingly complex, interprofessional healthcare environments through interprofessional education. Development of appropriate teamwork skills is complex and takes time. However, much of the research on student engagement with teamwork in higher education has been focused on the end goal of teamwork. This obscures the process of how students learn to work in interprofessional healthcare teams and in what ways, over time. The current study used an exploratory interpretive approach to obtaining students' experiences, perceptions and developing understanding of teamwork from the start of their undergraduate studies, through to completion of five semesters of group or teamwork projects. Through qualitative methodology, educators explored student experiences of teamwork, their focus at designated points of their undergraduate teamwork, and the meaning they attributed to being a member of a team. Student perceptions of successful teamwork developed over time to a positive and purposeful orientation toward teamwork, learner attributes that enhanced team function, and a growing awareness of how the assessment context affected team function. By mapping these processes of learning over time, educators can gain a clearer understanding of influences and experiences that impact on student learning in teamwork.

Keywords: Interprofessional education; healthcare; learning; teamwork; undergraduate.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Learning
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Students