A learning disability nursing student at Kingston University (KU) has been recognized at the national level after her remarkable efforts on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Martina Gomez was nominated for the Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities award after her advocacy for the practice of nursing people with learning disabilities and her community work during coronavirus.

Martina, who graduates KU this summer, said her work as a nurse went beyond just making ends meet:

"Learning disability nursing and supporting individuals is more than a job, it is every part of who I am. I’m passionate about education and awareness and hope that, during my studies at Kingston, I was able to make some difference," she said.

KU described how Martina joined "hundreds of Kingston University nursing students" in joining the UK's battle against the Covid-19 virus.

In her case, that meant not only working at a care home in Twickenham to help look after some of the people most at risk from the virus, but also donating more than 200 essential hand creams to fellow care and nursing home staff with her own fundraising campaign.

Martina said she was inspired to pursue a career in health and social care by her 18 year old autistic son.

During her time at university KU said she has been an active presence on campus, forming a group of nursing students and academics from across the nursing fields to be 'Learning Disability Champions' at KU and in acute general hospitals in the wider Kingston community, and chairing Kingston Nursing Society.

Senior lecturer in learning disability nursing at Kingston University Daniel Marsden is Martina’s personal tutor: "Martina’s values, drive and perseverance to mitigate the inequalities people with learning disabilities face is awe-inspiring. The work she does nurturing and inspiring the next generation of nurses is vital and a testament to the ways she can creatively express herself and ensure her message is heard," he said.

The announcement of this year’s winners takes place on Thursday, November 4, at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.