1. 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 leadership capabilities 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.
2. 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
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
3. Is there an ideal location for a project?
The ideal location for a project is an environment providing health care for mothers, infants, and children up to age 5. Settings where individuals make policies, rules and regulations affecting the needs this population are desired.
4. I have an idea for a project, but do not know if it will work and/or be supported by my institution. What should I do?
Talk to your supervisor and colleagues to see if they view the situation/need as you do. Once these individuals are on board have them advocate for you and arrange conversations with 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.
5. What if my Leadership Mentor cannot attend both workshops?
A Leadership Mentor must be able to attend both workshops. If a Leadership Mentor candidate is not able to attend both workshops, a different one must be chosen.
6. Should I interview Leadership Mentor candidates?
If the Fellow does not have a prior relationship with a Leadership Mentor, it might be helpful to interview several possible candidates to determine whether there is a good fit between the Leadership Mentor’s style and the Fellows needs.
7. What should I look for in a Leadership Mentor?
The Leadership Mentor should be someone who can provide the Fellow with guidance and feedback in a manner that allows them to grow in his or her leadership development.
8. Does my Leadership Mentor have to be a nurse?
No. The academy encourages the Fellows to develop interdisciplinary relationships. A Leadership Mentor from another discipline can provide valuable opportunities for the Fellow to develop linkages with other professionals involved in the health and health care of mothers and children.
9. Does my Leadership Mentor need to be an expert in maternal-child health?
No. The ideal Leadership Mentor has progressive leadership skills and understands what it means to lead in a health care environment.
10. Should I work with my Leadership Mentor on my application and project summary?
The academy encourages Fellows to work collaboratively with their Leadership Mentors on both the application and the project summary.
11. Should I work with my direct supervisor in the development of my application and project summary?
Yes. By involving a direct supervisor in the development of the application and project summary, they will gain an awareness of the time and support required for successful participation in the academy. This understanding and support must be reflected in the letter of support from the Fellow’s agency/organization/institution (A/O/I).
12. 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 Fellow’s leadership journey and have a positive impact on maternal-child health care. A successful project plan will answer the following questions:
What are we trying to accomplish?
How will we know that a change is an improvement?
What changes can we make that will result in improvement?
Of course, the project may evolve over time as the Fellow and Leadership Mentor work together.