COVID-19 Global Diaries: 'I was a literature student now I'm a volunteer nurse'

In Italy Martina Domenici didn't think twice about answering her government's call to action and is on the frontline caring for infected patients

volunteer nurse

In Italy Martina Domenici didn't think twice about answering her government's call to action and is on the frontline caring for infected patients

I’m 27 and some say I have a natural talent for describing people’s souls. This led me to attend a Marie Claire project a year ago. I submitted a heartfelt story about a transgender person and it was published. But these days, I’ve had to forget about spending time writing stories.

I could have rested on my sofa, waiting for my creative writing school to re-open, waiting for the end of this grave storm… But I decided to answer one of the Italian government’s numerous calls: there was a need for medical professionals everywhere in the country. I volunteered and was assigned to a hospital in the middle of Italy, dedicated to treating COVID-19 infected patients.

volunteer nurse

Martina Domenici working in hospital

I’m an emergency nurse now running to hospital wards. 'It’s my job. I can’t not do this.' This is what I say when people ask me why I’m here. I go from one exhausting shift to the next, in a ward that gets busier by the day. My mind is super stressed-out but it’s important for me to say what's happening inside the hospitals.'

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

Hello Marie Claire readers – you have reached your daily destination. I really hope you’re enjoying our reads and I'm very interested to know what you shared, liked and didn’t like (gah, it happens) by emailing me at:

But if you fancy finding out who you’re venting to then let me tell you I’m the one on the team that remembers the Spice Girls the first time round. I confidently predicted they’d be a one-hit wonder in the pages of Bliss magazine where I was deputy editor through the second half of the 90s. Having soundly killed any career ambitions in music journalism I’ve managed to keep myself in glow-boosting moisturisers and theatre tickets with a centuries-spanning career in journalism.

Yes, predating t’internet, when 'I’ll fax you' was grunted down a phone with a cord attached to it; when Glastonbury was still accessible by casually going under or over a flimsy fence; when gatecrashing a Foo Fighters aftershow party was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder was... oh sorry I like to ramble.

Originally born and bred in that there Welsh seaside town kindly given a new lease of life by Gavin & Stacey, I started out as a junior writer for the Girl Guides and eventually earned enough Brownie points to move on and have a blast as deputy editor of Bliss, New Woman and editor of People newspaper magazine. I was on the launch team of Look in 2007 - where I stuck around as deputy editor and acting editor for almost ten years - shaping a magazine and website at the forefront of body positivity, mental wellbeing and empowering features. More recently, I’ve been Closer executive editor, assistant editor at the Financial Times’s How To Spend It (yes thanks, no probs with that life skill) and now I’m making my inner fangirl’s dream come true by working on this agenda-setting brand, the one that inspired me to become a journalist when Marie Claire launched back in 1988.

I’m a theatre addict, lover of Marvel franchises, most hard cheeses, all types of trees, half-price Itsu, cats, Dr Who, cherry tomatoes, Curly-Wurly, cats, blueberries, cats, boiled eggs, cats, maxi dresses, cats, Adidas shelltops, cats and their kittens. I’ve never knowingly operated any household white goods and once served Ripples as a main course. And finally, always remember what the late great Nora Ephron said, ‘Everything is copy.’