Bradley Nursing student wins first place in NSNA essay contest

March 28, 2011

Senior nursing student Sarah Lutgen received first place in the National Student Nurses’ Association Essay Contest for her essay on environmentally friendly healthcare. She will accept her award at the NSNA’s annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 8.

Lutgen graduated from Naperville Central High School and came to Bradley to become a nurse. Lutgen is on the board of the Bradley Nursing Student Association and is a nursing representative on the Student Advisory Council. After graduating from Bradley, she hopes to earn a master’s degree in nursing education, become a pediatric nurse, and eventually teach nursing at the university level.

The contest asked essay writers to answer the question “What would you change about healthcare?” In the essay, Lutgen spoke about green energy initiatives, specifically reducing packaging where safe and applicable; recycling more paper and plastic; building hospitals with more windows to increase energy efficiency and provide more natural sunlight for patients; and planting flowers, trees, and gardens on hospital grounds.

Lutgen said she has always had an interest in environmental science and had noticed how much trash and waste hospitals can produce. She has seen many hospitals attempt to become more environmentally friendly, but felt that there were a number of ways they could improve.

She praised Dr. Deborah Erickson, the BNSA’s faculty advisor, and English professor Michelle Cusack for helping her with her essay. The essay will soon be published online at

In addition to the individual honor, Lutgen was particularly excited about her award’s effect on Bradley.

“I’m really excited to get Bradley’s name out there in front of all the nursing students in the nation,” she said.