Skip to content
Skip to content
Open navigation

ANCC's prestigious recognition programs for healthcare organizations are now accepting international applications.

Healthcare organizations around the world are searching for ways to improve patient care and quality. Our organizational accreditation programs for nursing excellence offer proven strategies to reach these goals.

For hospitals located outside of the United States, ANCC offers additional support and resources to assist you in pursuing Pathway designation. For more information, contact 

Educational Requirements and Validation of Credentials

International applicants for the Pathway to Excellence Program must meet the CNO eligibility requirements for academic preparation and licensure.

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
To validate international credentials, applicants must present verification from CGFNS International.

ANCC will not accept verification documents from other credential evaluating organizations.

Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility requirements apply to organizations applying for the Pathway to Excellence Program.

Chief Nursing Officer and Nursing Leadership
The applicant organization must designate one individual as the chief nursing officer (CNO) who is ultimately accountable for the standards of nursing practice throughout the organization.

  • The CNO is responsible for all nursing practice; therefore, all areas and campuses under the CNO's accountability where nursing is present must be included in the application, regardless of reporting relationships.
  • The CNO, as part of the organization's highest governing, decision- making, and strategic-planning body, advocates for nursing to the Board of Directors.
  • At the time of application, the CNO must hold, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
    • If the baccalaureate degree (or higher) in nursing was obtained outside the United States, the Chief Nursing Officer/Director of Nursing does not need to have the degree evaluated for comparability to US degree requirements.
    • If the Chief Nursing Officer/Director of Nursing is educated outside the United States and does not hold a baccalaureate (or higher) nursing degree, they must have their credentials evaluated for comparability to US degree standards through Commission on Graduate of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
  • All requirements must be maintained through the application phase, the review phase, and designation as a Pathway to Excellence organization.
  • Appointees as interim CNOs and subsequent CNOs must also comply with all requirements. 

Organizational Structure
Individual organizations within the system may apply; however, a multi-facility healthcare system cannot apply as a whole. (For those with campuses, please refer to the campus definition below.)

The organization must be compliant with all state and/or federal laws as they relate to registered nurses in the workplace.

Effective 2/1/2021: Commission on Pathway to Excellence has unanimously approved the inclusion of non-RN midwives in the Pathway Nurse Survey phase of the Pathway to Excellence® application.

Definition of Midwife

Completed midwifery education program based on ICM Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice and framework of ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education. Click on for more information on the Scope and Practice of a Midwife.

Persons not eligible to participate in the Pathway Nurse Survey include Auxiliary Midwife,  as defined by the WHO:;jsessionid=0865667ABAAAF165C7E35C77CC69ED6C?sequence=1.

Questions? Contact

Terms Defined

For Pathway purposes, campuses are remote care sites of an applicant organization. The CNO of the applicant organization is accountable for nursing practice at the remote sites. Campuses typically provide services to augment the full set of services offered at the primary site.

Chief Nursing Officer
The highest-level nurse with ultimate responsibility for all nursing practice within the organization. In long-term care, this role is synonymous with the "Director of Nursing" (DON).

Nurse Manager
A registered nurse responsible for the supervision of registered nurses and other health care providers who deliver nursing care in an inpatient or outpatient area. The nurse manager’s primary domains of activity are planning, organizing, leading, and evaluating. The term “nurse manager” is not synonymous with the chief nursing officer. In long-term care, “nurse manager” may be used interchangeably with “associate director,” “charge nurse,” or “supervisor.” 

ANCC has successfully achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification for all of its credentialing programs.


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