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Sharon A. Cusanza


Magnet®, Accreditation®, Pathway to Excellence®

Sharon Cusanza brings over 40 years of nursing experience to her consultation practice, including nursing leadership, quality improvement, and Magnet® experience. She is currently the head of risk management education at LAMMICO.

Sharon Cusanza brings over 40 years of nursing experience to her consultation practice. She has extensive experience as a leader/director including a background in quality improvement, education, and accreditation. Her experience also includes chairing institutional level quality, nursing leadership, and shared decision-making committees. She is currently the lead of risk management education at LAMMICO/Medical Interactive where she oversees ACCME accreditation with commendation and ANCC accreditation with distinction. She was formerly the Magnet Program Director at a large tertiary care hospital, where she successfully wrote two sets of Magnet application documents and coordinated the accompanying site visits. Sharon possesses in-depth understanding and analysis of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, the Pathway to Excellence Program®, and the Accreditation® Program. She is a Fundamentals of Magnet® certificate holder. Fundamentals of Magnet® is a professional credential for consultants who guide hospitals as they apply for Magnet recognition. She also has over 15 years of experience developing local and regional conferences for professional organizations.

In addition to consulting and nursing education, she has presented her own nursing research studies and quality improvement projects at ANCC National Magnet Conferences, AONL, ACCME conferences, and the ANCC NPD Summit.

Summary of Services

  • Conducts gap analysis and readiness assessments and provides strategies for success.
  • Develops customized education and training to support organizational needs.
  • Assists organizations with document development and review.
  • Assists with electronic document submission.
  • Conducts comprehensive on-site reviews in preparation for site visits.
  • Works with all stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.


  • BSN, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA
  • MSN in executive nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL


  • American Nurses Credentialing Center–Certificate Holder in Fundamentals of Magnet®
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center–Nurse Executive, Advanced
  • Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions-Certified Healthcare CPD Professional

Professional Memberships

  • Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions
  • Association for Nursing Professional Development
  • American Nursing Association
  • American Organization of Nurse Leaders
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management

Although the 2014 Magnet® Application Manual seems to have reduced the burden of documentation by decreasing the number of standards to 49, there are still 66 Sources of Evidence (SOE) to write. Regardless of whether you are writing a narrative for an empirical outcome SOE or nonempirical outcome SOE, it is important to do the following.

  • Describe the structure, process, and outcome of the standards being addressed.
  • Describe the development, dissemination, and enculturation of the standards.
  • Identify the key words or concepts in each SOE and then explain how each of those key words or concepts is operationalized within your organization.
  • Use evidence wisely to demonstrate the key words or concepts that you have described. I suggest using five pieces of evidence.
  • Provide the requested number of examples, no more, no less.

Additional Tips

  • Frequently check the ANCC website for 2014 Magnet® Application Manual updates and FAQs.
  • Use a consistent writing style and formatting.
  • Have someone who does not know your organization read your documents. This will help you fill in gaps in your explanations. Remember, what is familiar to you is not familiar to the appraisers.
  • Consider utilizing the expertise of an NKC consultant to review your documents to ensure that your narratives completely address the intent of the SOEs.

This article was originally published in June 2015.

*Use of ANA Consultation Services does not guarantee you will achieve an ANCC credential. ANA consultants and staff cannot influence the actions of ANCC program staff nor decisions of the Commission on Magnet® Recognition, Commission on Pathway to Excellence®, or Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs and the Commission for Nursing Continuing Professional Development..

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