Professionalism Matters

Expert guests on the doctor/patient relationship and the latest themes in ethics, research, education and clinical practice. Hosted by Professor Denis Harkin.

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Episode 6: Digital Professionalism with Dr Shaista Salman

Shaista Salman is a lecturer in Professionalism at RCSI Bahrain.

Shaista started as a clinician specialising in Radiology before going on to be an academic and completing her PhD, titled 'Development, Validation and Evaluation of Medical Education e-Professionalism Framework

Listen in for a conversation between Dr Salman and Professor Harkin around the many interesting and important aspects of professionalism online.

“Being conscious and cautious that whatever is going out there is depicting myself...”


"To date my 20-year career has been like surfing from one tide to another: A relatable metaphor for the 21st century, where skillsets are rapidly changing.

"I started as a clinician and went on to be an academic, but I found it hard to connect to students.

"To hone those skills, I got on another tide of medical education, which I thoroughly enjoyed until I reached the crest and paddled out, now riding a newer and stronger tide of professionalism."

Episode 5: Burnout with Professor Colin West

This week Professor Colin West has a discussion with Professor Denis Harkin on the important topic of burnout.

Professor West is a physician and researcher and an expert in physician wellbeing.

He is currently a Professor of Medicine, Medical Education, Medical Statistics at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Together they discuss burnout, personal wellbeing and MVP (meaning, values and purpose).

“Burnout is not an individual failing, for the most part...”


Originally from Seattle, Dr West received his MD and PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Iowa in 1999. He completed residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic, and joined the faculty in General Internal Medicine in 2004.

He is currently Professor of Medicine, Medical Education, and Biostatistics at Mayo. He is Director of the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Well-Being and was named the first Medical Director of Employee Well-Being for Mayo Clinic in 2022.

Dr West's research has focused on medical education and physician well-being, and has been widely published in prominent journals including The Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine and JAMA Internal Medicine.

Episode 4: Advocacy with Dr Suzanne Crowe

Dr Suzanne Crowe is an anaesthesiologist, an intensivist, an associate professor in paediatrics and is current president of the Irish Medical Council.

For this week’s episode Professor Harkin has a discussion with Dr Crowe around advocacy.

Together they discuss the right and accessibility to quality healthcare, protection of the vulnerable and empowerment of the disadvantaged.

“Having your patient’s back...”


Dr Suzanne Crowe was first elected to the Medical Council in 2018 and re-elected in 2023. Dr Crowe was elected as President of the Medical Council in 2021.

Dr Crowe graduated in Medicine from Trinity College Dublin, followed by specialist training in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine with the College of Anaesthesiologists. After a Fellowship in Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine in the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne she took up a consultant post in Anaesthesia with a Special Interest in Paediatrics in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.

In 2014 Dr Crowe moved to Children’s Health Ireland Crumlin Hospital as a Paediatric Intensivist. She is a Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics in Trinity College Dublin and has an interest in bereavement studies and medical ethics. She is Associate Clinical Professor in UCD School of Medicine in the division of Women and Children’s Health. Dr Crowe is a board trustee for three charities, the Down Syndrome Centre, Cheshire Ireland and LGBT Ireland.

Episode 3: Empathy with Professor Pat Dolan

Pat Dolan headshot, black and white.Professor Pat Dolan holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement, the first in the Republic of Ireland.

He has completed an extensive body of research on family issues and co-edited the book Ionbhá: The Empathy Book for Ireland.

In this week's episode Professor Dolan and host Professor Denis Harkin have an informative discussion on the valuable topic of empathy. 

“What oils the empathy engine is time and listening...”


Professor Pat Dolan is UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at the University of Galway, the first awarded in the Republic of Ireland.

As UNESCO Chair he developed a comprehensive programme of work to improve civic engagement and leadership skills among children and youth known as the Youth As Researchers (YAR) Programme. He has completed extensive research on empathy education for theory policy and practice.

Prof. Dolan is Director of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at the University of Galway. He has completed a multitude of research and academic publications on children, youth, and family issues, having over 100 peer-reviewed academic publications.

Pat Dolan has extensive practice and policy experience, nationally and internationally.

Episode 2: Unprofessional Behaviours with Professor Johanna Westbrook

Prof Johanna WestbrookUnprofessionalism can be understood as behaviours below or contrary to the standards expected of the medical profession. In this episode, Professor Denis Harkin speaks with Professor Joanna Westbrook, Director for Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research at the Institution of Health Innovation at Macquaire University, Sydney, Australia.

Together they discuss unprofessionalism along with the effects of information and communication technology in healthcare. 

“To recognise that positive behaviours may also be incredibly effective at changing cultures”

Professor Johanna Westbrook, PhD, FTSE, FAIDH, FACMI, FIAHSI, is Director of the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University.

She is internationally recognised for her research evaluating the effects of ICT in health care, which has led to significant advances in our understanding of how clinical information systems deliver (or fail to deliver) expected benefits. Her highly applied research has supported translation of this evidence into policy, practice, and IT system design changes. She presented to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety regarding the contribution that ICT can make in improving quality.

Prof Westbrook has recently been working with a large health care provider to evaluate a multi-hospital organisational culture change intervention designed to reduce unprofessional behaviour between hospital staff.  

Prof Westbrook has received several awards for her research. In 2014 she was named Australian ICT professional of the year, in 2019 as the national research leader in the field of medical informatics and in 2022 she was awarded the Health Services Research Award by Research Australia and a Telstra Health Brilliant Women in Digital Health Award. Johanna has over 500 publications and been awarded >$50M in research grants.

In 2019 she received the Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Award from the NHMRC. In 2020 Westbrook was appointed as a Co-Director of the Safety, Quality and Informatics Leadership program, by the Harvard Medical School. 

Episode 1: Non-maleficence with Dr Henry Marsh

Dr Henry Marsh

Welcome to Professionalism Matters!

For our first episode, Professor Denis Harkin speaks with Dr Henry Marsh CBE, senior consultant neurosurgeon, pioneer of neurosurgery advances in Ukraine, and author.


Together they have an enlightening discussion on the principle ‘First, Do No Harm’, in which Dr Marsh shares some very honest reflections on his extensive career as a surgeon.

“It’s impossible as a surgeon to never do any harm...”

Henry Marsh graduated with a first-class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford and then studied Medicine in London, graduating with honours in 1973. He subsequently trained as a neurosurgeon.

He was the senior consultant neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morleys/St George's for 25 years, where he pioneered awake craniotomy techniques for intrinsic brain tumours. His work has been the subject of two major BBC documentaries – Your Life in their Hands in 2003, and The English Surgeon in 2009 about his work in Ukraine over the last 30 years. The latter film has won many awards including an Emmy, and was described in The New York Times as "Enthralling, astonishing... agonisingly human", and in the London Times as “the most moving and honest film about surgery I have ever seen”.

His first book, Do No Harm, is an international bestseller with 37 foreign editions and translations:

  • “Neurosurgery has found its Boswell” -Ian McEwen.
  • 'Riveting... extraordinarily intimate, compassionate and sometimes frightening -(Michiko Kakatani, New York Times.
  • “Why has no one ever written a book like this before? … what a bloody, splendid book” -The Guardian.
  • “When a book starts like this – ‘I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing’ – you have to go on reading…” -Karl Ove Knausgaard, Financial Times.

The book was short-listed for eight major UK literary prizes and won both the Sky Arts South Bank Show 2015 Award for Literature and the PEN Ackerley Prize. In 2017 he published a second book, Admissions, which became a Sunday Times No 1 bestseller in the UK, and in 2022 a third book, And Finally, which has also been a Sunday Times bestseller.

Since retiring from the NHS in 2018 he has continued to work in Ukraine, Nepal and Albania.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010.