Interprofessional education can promote healthcare professionals’ competence to work in interprofessional collaboration, which is essential for the quality and safety of care. An interprofessional approach is particularly important in complex, chronic diseases like diabetes. This qualitative study evaluated changes in medical and nursing students’ perceptions of interprofessional collaboration, induced by a novel interprofessional education course on diabetes care with practical elements. Data from focus-group interviews of 30 students before and after the course were analyzed by using inductive and deductive content analysis. The students’ perceptions were illustrated as Elements of Collaborative Care (e.g. Quality of professional care relationship) and Elements of Interprofessional Collaboration (e.g. Importance of communication and Valuation of collaboration). The post-course interviews added one subcategory (Need of resources) to the pre-course perceptions, and there was improvement in ten areas of self-perceived competence in performing or understanding interprofessional collaboration on diabetes care. The course improved the students’ self-perceived competence and confidence in interprofessional collaboration on the care of patients with diabetes, and their understanding of interprofessional collaboration changed towards a more patient-centred and holistic perspective. The findings support further implementation of IPE with practical elements in future health professionals’ education.
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