Skip to content
Skip to content
Open navigation

Before You Apply

The release of the 2020 Pathway to Excellence & Pathway to Excellence in Long-Term Care Application Manual is scheduled for February 2020. This is a revision of both the 2016 Pathway to Excellence and 2017 Pathway to Excellence in Long-Term Care Application manuals. The requirements for both designations will be included in this one manual. There will be some new concepts, however, much of the 2020 manual will remain similar to the current versions. Organizations applying or re-applying for either designation are required to write to the new elements of performance in the 2020 manual beginning with the February 1, 2021 cycle.

Conducting a self-assessment is a good first step to determine whether your organization meets the requirements for Pathway to Excellence or Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care designation. Nurses at all levels conduct a self-assessment and fully document how the Pathway Practice Standards are active in their practices, policies, and culture. The process enables your organization to compare itself against the program's compulsory elements to measure your current state. Applying for Pathway to Excellence or  Pathway to Excellence in Long-Term Care designation is a significant commitment that requires three key elements: high-level oversight, a realistic timeline, and a realistic budget. The following resources are available to assist in the decision process:

Acute Care Self-Assessment Form  Long-Term Care Self-Assessment

Visit our Products page for other resources to assist you in this decision process.

Start the Journey

An organization earns or renews the Pathway to Excellence® designation through a comprehensive review process.
Effective January 1, 2017, The Pathway to Excellence designation is granted for 4 years.

Steps of the Pathway to Excellence

Step 1: Online Application & Application Fee

Effective June 1, 2018, all application materials must be received via the Pathway portal at least 8 months before the requested date of the Pathway Standards document submission.
A completed Pathway application includes:

  • Submission of online application
  • CNO or DON curriculum vitae, copy of Hospital Operating Certificate or other independent verification of licensed beds, and Organizational Chart.
  • The application fee is non-refundable and will be due at the time of application.

The application will be processed when payment is received. The application fee must be paid by check or credit card in the Pathway portal.

Remittance address:

ANCC Pathway
P.O. Box 505012
St. Louis, MO 63150-5012

Step 2: Document Submission & Document Submission Fee

Organizations are required to:

  • Upload the Pathway Standards Document that includes the Organizational Overview, the Pathway Standards Written Responses, and the Organizational Demographic Form (ODF) via the Pathway portal
  • Process the document submission fee by check or credit card in the Pathway portal.

    Remittance address:   ANCC Pathway P.O. Box 505012 St. Louis, MO 63150-5012

  • Document Submission Fee
    • Document submission dates are
      • February 1,
      • April 1
      • June 1
      • August 1
      • November 1

Step 3: Appraisal Process

During the Appraisal Process, the document submission is evaluated by at least three ANCC nursing experts. Appraisers evaluate the content provided by the organization for each Pathway Standard requirement. An organization must meet all Pathway Standards.

Step 4: Nurse Survey

Following a successful Pathway Standards document review, the Pathway Nurse Survey is administered. Nurses in the organization confirm the integration of Pathway Practice Standards using a confidential online survey conducted by the ANCC. The organization must meet survey thresholds.

Step 5: Designation Decision

The Commission on Pathway to Excellence conducts a thorough review of the Pathway Standards document report and Pathway Nurse Survey results and makes the final decision regarding designation based on the appraisers' evaluations and the Pathway Nurse Survey results.

An Introduction to Pathway to Excellence


You May Also Like

You are now leaving the American Nurses Foundation

The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

The Foundation expressly disclaims any political views or communications published on or accessible from this website.

Continue Cancel

Item(s) added to cart

Go to cart Continue Shopping