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"Inspirational" student nurse makes awards shortlist for raising awareness of illness that nearly killed her

An Adult Nursing student who battled for her life three times with sepsis but never lost her determination to be a nurse has been shortlisted for a highly regarded national award.

Katie Dutton is "excited and proud" to be in the running for Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year - and even more so because she was put forward by her dad.

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Katie with her dad Steve Dutton

The De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student said: "My dad nominated me for the Student Nursing Times Awards (SNTA) because he thought it would be good to get my story out there.

"As a daughter, to hear such wonderful things and have the support of my family is incredible."

Katie, from near Cambridge, decided she wanted to help save lives after a near-fatal sepsis experience, which saw her spend seven months in hospital after being admitted with a kidney infection.

"I got sepsis three times, which spurred me on to take action," said Katie, who previously worked as a clinical support worker. "Even though it was a really negative experience, I met so many wonderful nurses who inspired me to be the nurse I want to be."

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The 27-year-old completed her university access course while recovering from a major operation, writing most of her assignments in her hospital bed. She chose to study at DMU because of its links with Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI), which has the country's first dedicated Emergency Department sepsis team.

In January, Katie organised a sepsis awareness day on campus, with help from fellow second year Kylie-Ann Johnson and the LRI. The aim was to help students spot the signs of potentially fatal blood poisoning, which kills more people than breast and bowel cancer combined in the UK. 

"The day involved taking a practical approach looking at the 'Sepsis Six' - a pathway to treating sepsis," said Katie, who will be attending awareness days in Edinburgh and Birmingham inspired by her DMU event.

"Changing the curriculum is another big area. I did the 150 Leaders Course, which encourages and develops healthcare students with leadership potential. I'm working with my mentor to get sepsis on the curriculum across the UK.

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"I am also going to the Patient Safety Congress in July to speak about what is being done to NHS staff."

Katie's ambition is to work for the LRI's sepsis team, but meanwhile is enjoying her time at DMU.

"I absolutely love the course," she said. "The school is really supportive and if you are willing to put in effort to drive a project forward, they are willing to help and support.

"On placements I've learnt how to adapt because of my health needs and use my experience of being a patient to treat people how I wanted to be treated."

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Katie in London after attending an interview with the SNTA judging panel

Katie was among the students who went on the mass #DMUglobal trip to Berlin last summer, focusing on the health of refugees and asylum seekers.

"You don't get a lot of spare time as a Nursing student, but it's what you decide to do with it that counts," added Katie, who will head to London for the SNTA awards ceremony on 26 April. Joining her will be fellow DMU student Jon Bousie and DMU graduate Katie Siddall, who have been shortlisted in the Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disability Nursing categories respectively.

Posted on Tuesday 20th March 2018

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