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About Pathway

Nurses operate on the front line of health care, dedicating their working lives to protecting, promoting, and improving health care for all. To do this to the best of their ability they need to operate in an environment that supports their own needs and promotes high standards.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) believes every nurse deserves to be working in such an environment. The Pathway to Excellence Program® – the premier designation for healthy work environments – recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate a commitment to establishing the foundation of a healthy workplace for staff.

Pathway Standards impact a range of factors that influence bottom-line results, such as employee turnover, job satisfaction and engagement, productivity and teamwork, nursing-sensitive quality indicators, errors and safety events, and patient satisfaction.

The opportunity to attain the Pathway designation – and potentially join the growing number of elite organizations that now hold both the Pathway and Magnet® designations simultaneously – is available to any domestic or international health care organization where nurses are employed.

The Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care Program is a separate program that recognizes the essential elements of an ideal nursing practice environment in long term care.

Benefits

When Pathway Standards are encultured throughout an organization, the nurses, the patients, the organization itself, and the community it serves all benefit.

Improving nurse satisfaction

Achieving Pathway to Excellence secures your organization’s status as a positive practice environment. Pathway Standards help improve nurse satisfaction and engagement. Pathway to Excellence promotes shared decision-making, accountable leadership, quality and safe care, professional development, and balanced lifestyles for nurses. These factors increase job satisfaction, reduce work stress, and prevent burnout. 

Retaining choice nursing staff and leaders

Turnover is costly to any organization considering the direct and indirect costs. Even more detrimental is the impact turnover has on workforce morale and clinical quality outcomes. Preventing just one instance of nurse turnover covers the cost of the designation and makes the journey worthwhile.

Cultivating inter-professional teamwork

Pathway-designated organizations enjoy higher levels of collegial relationships, collaboration, and mutual respect. Pathway Standards promote practice environments where nurses have a voice, work collaboratively with their colleagues, and everyone’s contribution is valued. 

Championing quality nursing practice

A positive nursing practice environment enhances staff engagement and unit effectiveness, which leads to better patient experiences, satisfaction, safety, and outcomes. Pathway Standards assure leadership’s support for nurses, enabling them to lead at the bedside and achieve professional success.

Supporting business growth

The voices of nurses from all levels contribute to collaborative problem-solving, improved quality, and cost savings across the organization. Pathway Standards impact a range of factors that influence bottom-line results, such as employee turnover, job satisfaction and engagement, productivity and teamwork, nursing-sensitive quality indicators, errors and safety events, and patient satisfaction. Engaged nurses are key to sustaining a culture of excellence. Hardwiring excellence strengthens the organization’s financial stability in this value-based landscape and gives organizations a competitive edge in the market.

See more detailed information about the benefits of Pathway, along with a series of testimonials and case studies.

Learn More 

How to apply

To qualify, organizations must meet six Pathway Standards essential to positive practice environments. Applicants conduct a review process to fully document the integration of those standards in the organization’s practices, policies, and culture. Pathway designation can only be achieved if an organization’s nurses validate that the Pathway Standards are embodied and encultured throughout an organization, via an independent, confidential survey. This critical element exemplifies the theme of empowering and giving nurses a voice.

Eligibility

As long as it is fully compliant with state and federal laws, any size or type of health care group where nurses care for patients can apply for Pathway designation. A multi-facility health care system cannot apply as a whole; individual organizations within the system may apply on their own.

Long-term care organizations, meanwhile, pursue a dedicated application and review process that addresses standards unique to that environment – the Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care program.

There must be a nurse at the highest level with ultimate responsibility for all nursing practice within the organization, for example, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) or Director Of Nursing (D.O.N). The leader in this role must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing, such as BSN, MSN, MN, PhD, DNSc, or DNP.

Cost

Fees depend on the size of the organization and are based on the number of licensed beds. For ambulatory care organizations, fees are charged by the number of visits and additional branches. Please note that fees are subject to change. Refer to Pathway-To-Excellence-Program-Fees.

Pathway Standards impact a range of factors that influence bottom-line results, such as employee turnover, job satisfaction and engagement, productivity and teamwork, nursing-sensitive quality indicators, errors and safety events, and patient satisfaction.

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