Background: Professional socialisation and identity arise from interactions occurring within university-based interprofessional education, and workplace-based interprofessional practice experience. However, it is unclear how closely language and concepts of academic learning situations align with workplace contexts for interprofessional learning. This paper reports on a study that brought together university-based educators responsible for teaching health professional students and health service-based practitioners who supervise students in the field. Methods: Interviews and focus groups with university-based educators and health service-base practitioners were used to explore perceptions of capabilities required for interprofessional practice. The qualitative data were then examined to explore similarities and differences in the language used by these groups. Results: This analysis identified that there were language differences between the university-based educators and health service based practitioners involved in the project. The former demonstrated a curriculum lens, focusing on educational activities, student support and supervision. Conversely, health service-based practitioners presented a client-centred lens, with a focus on communication, professional disposition, attitude towards clients and co-workers, and authenticity of practice. Conclusions: Building on these insights, we theorise about the need for students to develop the self in order to be an interprofessional practitioner. The implications for health professional education in both university and workplace settings are explored.