Having started to explore the link between my own work and Medical Humanities back in December, I found this a particularly interesting conversation. The students had each chosen a patient, and spent time talking with them about their conditions. Using this extended knowledge, coupled with the ‘facts and figures’ knowledge they had from their more technical medical examinations, they then created comic strips of their patients’ story, and explored the communication effectiveness of them.
It’s no surprise that this process gave the students a greater contextual appreciation of their patients’ situations. And it was interesting to hear their thoughts on diagnosis and treatment shift a little from ‘response to a patient presenting in a given moment’ to ‘what happened before and what will happen afterwards’.
But perhaps the most interesting thing for me was the notion that this module explores, which is the creation of graphic memoirs ‘second hand’, i.e. created by the expertly-informed observer of the protagonist, rather than the artist-protagonist themselves.
It was especially interesting because the students’ comics were really very good. Will the next wave of comic creators be young doctors? I asked the students. They replied: ‘With our medical studies we wouldn’t have time. Comics takes too long to make!’
The visionary running this module is physician, comics creator and editor of graphicmedicine.org, Ian Williams…
… which leads me nicely to my next catch-up post: 4th International Conference on Comics & Medicine.