Mother-of-two Elsie Sazuze was employed by Wolverhampton-based care agency Totallycare, worked in Cannock and is thought to have lived in Birmingham.
Elsie died at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield on Wednesday after showing symptoms of Covid-19, leaving behind her husband Ken and children Andrew, 18, and Anna, 16.
Childhood friend William Fungatira, who lives in Tividale, set up a fundraiser for Elsie's funeral costs and within 15 hours it received more than £2,900 in donations from 131 people.
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William said: "This is an appeal to well-wishers to raise funds which will help the bereaved family in alleviating the financial burden that their circumstances present.
"Many thanks for the response and no words can express my appreciation, please keep it going and keep sharing."
William said Elsie, originally from Malawi, was "more or less my blood sister" and that the money raised would be given directly to her husband.
Patricia Perrin, director of Totallycare, grew up with Elsie in Malawi.
She said: “Not only have we lost such an incredibly sincere and valued member of our family, but someone I grew up with in Malawi.
"Our prayers, thoughts and practical support are with the family at this difficult time."
Ann Mansell, owner of Cannock-based Barton & Needwood House Nursing Homes, where Elsie performed weekly nursing duties, said the news had left colleagues and patients devastated.
Ann said: “Elsie was a well-liked, well-respected and hardworking nurse and her sudden death has hit everyone at our homes extremely hard.
“Elsie will always be remembered as a valued member of our care home family and our thoughts today are very much with Elsie’s husband and her children.”
Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing, added: “Elsie was a dedicated nurse who wanted to be there doing what she did best, caring for the most vulnerable.
“Without doubt, when we come through this, as a society we will owe a debt of gratitude to people like Elsie and to everyone on the care frontline in Staffordshire, who chose to make a difference for the benefit of others.”