Project builds community at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health

Photo of nursing students gathered around Tell Me Something Good display with pieces of paper on table and clothesline

Linnett Schmidkunz inspires others. The library associate in the NDSU Health Sciences Library at the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck began a project to build positivity and community with students, faculty, and staff.

Schmidkunz used the concept earlier in her career as a school principal to help others focus on their hard work and success, patterned after a radio show segment on positivity on The Bobby Bones Show. She now uses the concept every week in her role at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health.

Photo of Tell me something good slips of paper on a table

“Each week I print out ‘Tell Me Something Good Tuesday’ slips that students can fill out and post in the library,” said Schmidkunz. “Students can also send them to me by email if they are not in the building. Students share an appreciation, celebration, or expression of gratitude on the slip. The slips stay up for a week to help spread positivity. Each Wednesday I send out an email with Words of Wisdom Wednesday, which is a few of the celebrations and appreciations from the week.”

She also offers small give-aways such as granola bars, stress balls, stickers and more. The project has been a hit with nursing students.

  • “I like to read other’s responses; gets me to think about something good in our busy week.”
  • “It gives me something to look forward to doing and reading the answers from everyone else is fun. Also, many students have fun with TMSGT - so it gives me something to talk to them about and bond over.”
  • “I like to read others; it helps me see positives.”

As for what students share, it can be related to school or other topics such as:

  • “My best friend asked me to marry him this past weekend!  - and I said ‘yes!’”
  • “I got a job in the NICU!”
  • “I celebrated my birthday. I did well on my adult health exam. I got to spend some much-needed time with my kids and not doing homework.”
  • “I am passing all my classes despite adversities.” 

“Students enjoy reading what is happening with their fellow classmates and it helps them remember that even on a tough day, we can find something good,” said Schmidkunz.

Faculty have their own items to share.

  • “My students did great on exam 1 yesterday!”
  • “It was heartwarming to see our first group of Accelerated students join us at the White Coat Ceremony!”

“My hope is that it brightens everyone’s days, gives them something to celebrate, and helps them through the stressful times,” said Schmidkunz.

There’s also some science behind the positivity. Published in the New York Times,“Gratitude Really Is Good for You. Here’s What the Science Shows,” offers a look at research that illustrates how it can impact mental health and well-being. Or as one researcher quoted in the New York Times article said: “Gratitude seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.”


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