Blog » The Certification that Recognizes Dedication to Nurses

The Certification that Recognizes Dedication to Nurses

Created May 10 2015, 08:00 PM by Lippincott Solutions
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Pathway journey
  • Pathway to Excellence recognition
  • Magnet
  • ANCC

Monday, May 11, 2015
This post explains Pathway to Excellence recognition and why healthcare facilities pursue it.

Does your healthcare organization value its nurses? Why not document its dedication to promoting a nurse-friendly environment through certification in the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Pathway to Excellence Program ™?

Pathway to Excellence recognition signals to nurses and patients alike that a facility is committed to providing a practice environment where nurses can excel and patient care can flourish. Pathway to Excellence certification is available to healthcare organizations of any type or size that employ nurses.

Pathway to Excellence Standards

Unlike ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program, Pathway to Excellence recognition does not require a facility to conduct nurse research or to submit 2 years’ worth of patient outcome data. Rather, Pathway-certified organizations are known primarily for their supportive nursing work environments, which must meet 12 specific requirements:

  1. Nurses control the practice of nursing.
  2. The work environment is safe and healthy.
  3. Systems are in place to address patient care and practice concerns.
  4. Orientation prepares new nurses.
  5. The CNO is qualified and participates in all levels of the facility.
  6. Professional development is provided and utilized.
  7. Competitive wages/salaries are in place.
  8. Nurses are recognized for achievements.
  9. A balanced lifestyle is encouraged.
  10. Collaborative interdisciplinary relationships are valued and supported.
  11. Nurse managers are competent and accountable.
  12. A quality program and evidence-based practice are used.

The Pathway Journey

Strong in some requirements but not sure or decidedly weak in others? ANCC’s website includes an organization self-assessment tool that it considers the first step in pursuing recognition. ANCC also hosts Pathway to Excellence in-person workshops,  online courses and other resources to get facilities up to speed on how to successfully navigate the Pathway journey.

 Although recognition is certainly the goal, applicants say the Pathway journey can be an emboldening and rewarding experience for an organization and its nurses, too.

"The difference in the strength of our nursing department is palpable,” said Jane McCurley, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at North Hills Hospital, North Richland Hills, TX. ”Pride and camaraderie were apparent as we strengthened nurse autonomy and other criteria for designation. Our retention rates improved and staff nurse participation increased significantly as nurses realized the importance of their voice in decision-making.”

After a facility deems its ducks in a row, it submits its application, which takes an estimated six to 12 months to complete. Three nurses review the document and then, if it garners a thumbs-up, ANCC conducts an anonymous online survey for the organization’s nursing staff. To earn the Pathway designation, at least 51% of nurse employees must fill out the survey—which must boast at least 75% favorable results. No onsite visits are required.

Pathway to Excellence Recognition stands for 3 years, after which facilities can reapply. Currently, more than 120 organizations hold Pathway status.

Pathway in Person

The Pathway to Excellence journey and recognition can improve nurse satisfaction, reduce turnover and draw more high-performing nurses to your organization. What’s more, the costs of pursuing Pathway certification are less than Magnet.  

ANCC hosts an annual Pathway to Excellence Conference, where organizations discuss ideas and strategies for creating a more supportive, enriching culture for nurses. Attendees, who include hospital administrators, nurse leaders and staff nurses, find the conference practical, helpful and inspiring. To energize your organization’s nurse-enriching endeavors, plan now to attend.