Was MK Czerwiec the first healthcare professional to start drawing comics about her experiences as a carer? There may have been others but MK is the earliest I have found, starting her comics in 2000. She also writes and lectures about comics and narrative medicine and has a blog
“Comic Nurse” is a collection of MK’s strips. It is charming, gentle and funny. Poignant stories about the people she met while working on an HIV unit are interspersed with strips about boxed cake mix, butterflies, cell phones and buds. MK is an observer of details and I love this sort of quiet musing on life’s pleasures and irritations. The strips seem refreshingly devoid of cynicism and the simplicity of the ‘naive’ graphic style (drawn, it would seem, by hand with a technical pen and then coloured digitally) exudes an air of innocence (or maybe it is the way she draws those wide open eyes). The full colour pages, flatted with a sophisticated palette, are very appealing, even when the subject matter is death, and despite the rather formal title font on the cover, most of the text inside the book is handwritten, along with hand-drawn speech bubbles, a touch that works well.
MK Czerwiec is a pioneer of the graphic form applied to healthcare and deserves recognition as such. You can see MK’s cartoons here.