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Home : Leadership Institute : Maternal Child Health : Important Dates and FAQs
Maternal-Child Health Nurse
Leadership Academy (MCH NLA) 
Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of projects are suitable?
The ultimate goal of the MCH NLA is improved health for mothers and babies (up to 5 years old). This goal is achieved:
  • Directly from the projects completed during the academy (which creates system change)
  • Indirectly from ongoing nurse leadership throughout the nurse’s career.
Since leadership behaviors are learned and “we learn to do by doing” (Aristotle), an ideal way for nurses to learn leadership is by creating, managing and implementing a health care project. The project becomes the “vehicle” for this portion of the leadership journey. The interdisciplinary team members become traveling companions.
Is there an ideal location for a project?
No. Any place that mothers and babies up to age 5 have health care needs is a good place for a project. And, any setting where individuals make policies, rules and regulations that affect that same population is also a good place for a project. 


Contact the International Leadership Institute at
Possible project settings:
  • Acute care
  • Chronic care
  • Child day care (up to age 5)
  • Community care
  • Outpatient care
  • Managed care system
  • Private/public health care provider office
  • Planned Parenthood clinics
  • Public policy/health care policy
  • Schools (for children up to age 5)
Where can I get an idea for a project?
  • Project ideas can come from patients, families, health care professional colleagues, managers and people in your community.
  • Listen for “What if…”, “Why can’t we…”, “I wish you would…”, and “Why don’t you…” conversation starters.
  • Read professional journals.
  • Be connected with professional specialty organizations.
  • Be tuned in to current events.
  • Be aware of current practice improvement efforts that could be adapted to your situation.
I have an idea for a project, but don’t know if it will work and/or be supported by my institution. What should I do?
Talk about your idea to your supervisor. He/she may suggest also talking to your colleagues to see if they view the situation/need as you do. If your supervisor is on board with your idea, he/she will be able to arrange for you to talk to the policy leaders of your institution, from whom you need buy in. A flexible approach is important: Occasionally, it becomes necessary to modify a project after the academy begins.
Click here for prior projects and outcomes.

How are the applications reviewed?
Applications are reviewed by a panel of maternal-child health nursing leaders who will independently score each application based on the following criteria: a) mentee leadership potential; b) mentee commitment to the advancement of maternal-child nursing; c) mentor’s ability to foster the mentee’s development; d) the quality of the proposed leadership project; and e) the commitment of the supporting agency/institution/organization.
How should I select a mentor?
Applicants should select a mentor who is an experienced mentor and demonstrates the following characteristics:
  • Extensive leadership experience.
  • Possesses mentorship knowledge and expertise to guide and support the mentee’s leadership journey.
  • Demonstrates success as a mentor as evidenced by the accomplishments of prior mentees.
  • Is able to create new networking opportunities and assist with navigating organization structure and culture.
  • Is able to listen and provide feedback to assist throughout the mentee’s leadership journey.
  • Is able to attend and participate in all MCH NLA workshops, site visits, and STTI's biennial convention.
  • Mentors need not be a member of STTI.
What if my mentor cannot attend both workshops?
A mentor must be able to attend both workshops. If a mentor candidate is not able to attend both workshops, a different mentor must be selected.
Should I interview mentor candidates?
If the mentee does not have a prior relationship with the mentor, it might be helpful to interview several possible candidates to determine whether there is a good fit between the mentor’s style and the mentee’s needs.
What should I look for in a mentor?
The mentor should be someone who can provide the mentee with guidance and feedback in a manner that allows the mentee to grow in his or her leadership capacity.
Does my mentor have to be a nurse?
No. The MCH Nurse Leadership Academy encourages the mentees to develop interdisciplinary relationships. A mentor from another discipline can provide valuable opportunities for the mentee to develop linkages with other professionals involved in the health and health care of mothers and children.
Does my mentor need to be an expert in maternal-child health?
No. Mentors who are experienced leaders in health care or in academia can provide valuable mentorship experiences for the mentees.
Should I work with my mentor on my MCH NLA application and project summary?
The MCH Nurse Leadership Academy encourages mentees to work collaboratively with their mentors on both the application and the project summary.
Should I work with my direct supervisor in the development of my MCH NLA application and project summary?
Yes. By involving a direct supervisor in the development of the MCH Nurse Leadership Academy application and project summary, a supervisor will gain an awareness of the time and support required for successful participation in the academy. This understanding and support should be reflected in the letter of support from the mentee’s agency/organization/institution (A/O/I).
What if I haven’t been a formal leader in my organization? Should I still apply?
Yes. The most effective leaders in an organization are not always the “formal” leaders. Informal leaders who influence others because of their expertise and people skills are very important. Many more formal and informal nurse leaders are needed in local, national and international settings to advance the health care interests and benefits of mothers and children.
How detailed should my project plan be?
The project plan should include enough detail so that the review panel can evaluate the potential of the project to both advance the mentee’s leadership journey and have a positive impact on maternal-child health care. Of course, the project may evolve over time as the mentee and mentor work together.
What kind of financial support does MCH NLA provide?
Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions provides generous support to assist the mentee and mentor pair with the expenses associated with participation in MCH Nurse Leadership Academy. The following costs for the mentee and mentor pair are covered by this support:
  • Workshop materials
  • Lodging for Workshop I, Workshop II and STTI's biennial convention
  • Most meals associated with Workshops I and II
  • Faculty expenses associated with the site visits
  • Two-day registration for STTI's biennial convention
Who is responsible for covering the expenses for my mentor?
Several of the mentor’s expenses will be covered by MCH (see question 12). Transportation to the workshops and convention will be at the mentor’s expense.
Should my A/O/I cover any of MCH NLA expenses?
Yes. An A/O/I will need to provide the mentee and/or mentor with the time off to attend the workshops as well as STTI's biennial convention. Many A/O/I’s assist in covering mentee registration, transportation costs and meals.
What represents a strong letter of support from an A/O/I?
A strong letter of support will describe how the mentee’s and/or mentor’s A/O/I will support the mentee and/or mentor throughout the 18-month academy and sustain the MCH Nurse Leadership Academy project outcomes by indicating:
  • Support for participation in MCH NLA
  • Support for the attainment of the identified MCH NLA leadership project goals (time, resources, etc.)
  • Financial commitment for the mentee’s participation
NOTE: When requesting a letter of support, the mentee and mentor could consider informing the A/O/I that:
  • Johnson & Johnson provides generous support to assist the mentees and mentors with the expenses associated with participation in the academy. The following costs for the mentees and mentors are covered by this support:

    • Workshop materials
    • Lodging for Workshop I, Workshop II and STTI's biennial convention
    • Two-day registration for STTI's biennail convention
    • Most meals associated with Workshops I and II
    • Faculty expenses associated with the site visits 

  • The following expenses are the responsibility of the mentee and/or mentor:

    • Registration fee for the mentee and mentor pair: $625
    • Mentee and mentor travel to Workshop I: 11-15 June 2012 in Indianapolis, Ind., USA
    • Mentee and mentor travel to Workshop II: 4-8 February 2013, location TBD
    • Mentee and mentor travel and meals to academy celebrations at STTI’s biennial convention: 16-20 November 2013 in Indianapolis, Ind., USA
    • Additional activities associated with the mentee’s individualized leadership plan and project 


Presented in Partnership with Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions.


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