Momodou Bojang, who works at Arundel and District Community Hospital for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, was awarded a scholarship on a leadership and management programme run by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, after overcoming the virus at his Bognor Regis home.
The Foundation said Momodou had submitted an ‘outstanding’ application, a verdict that astonished and delighted the 38-year-old, who had submitted the paperwork only hours before the deadline and just months after qualifying as a registered nurse.
“I feel very privileged,” said Momodou, who has started the course.
“It’s the best thing any nurse can hope to get their hands on.”
The scholarship is the latest achievement of a man who was born and educated in the West African country The Gambia, where his compassion and empathy made him ideally suited to a career in healthcare.
After training as a nurse, Momodou worked on a malaria drug programme in a Medical Research Council hospital in the capital, Banjul, later broadening his skills on the wards of a private hospital in the south.
In 2008 he moved to the UK, keen to build on his work on HIV and AIDS, but decided to become a combat medical technician and healthcare assistant in the British Army, serving for eight years before enrolling on a nursing degree course at the University of Portsmouth.
Momodou chose to finish his degree course by taking up a placement with SCFT, the largest provider of NHS community care in Sussex, at Arundel and District Community Hospital.
He was one of the nurses drafted in to help with the Trust’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite being forced to take a fortnight off after being ‘hit hard’ by the virus, which carries an increased risk of death for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, he recovered, graduated, became a fully qualified nurse, and submitted his application to the Florence Nightingale Foundation.
His aim now is to complete the programme before considering his next move.