Introduction: The Portsmouth Dental Academy delivers an interprofessional education to dental students on outreach placement from King's College London Dental Institute.
Aim: To establish what the dental students' attitudes to the placement are and how these correlate to the perceptions of the staff who work with them.
Method: Using Delphi consensus procedures, a simple, closed, two-question questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was completed by the students and then, to triangulate the results, was subsequently applied to staff who teach and assist them on clinic.
Results: To the question: Why do you think the experience that is commonly termed the 'Portsmouth experience' is so successful 'in the eyes of the students'?, the students ranked first the response: 'Students gain experience in primary dental care clinical practice under the current NHS contract - UDAs and KPIs'. To the second question: What do you think the students most enjoyed about working in Portsmouth?, the students ranked first: 'A sense of independence - being made to make their own decisions'.
Conclusion: The students' major perception of the 'Portsmouth experience' centres around the placement being a realistic preparation for their future practising career. This is combined with a strong sense of belonging when studying and working at the Academy.