ANCC's Pathway to Excellence Program

Ellen Swartwout, RN, MSN, NEA-BC


March 05, 2010

In This Article

Introducing the Pathway to Excellence® Program

The American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Pathway to Excellence® credential is granted to healthcare organizations that create work environments where nurses can flourish. The designation supports the professional satisfaction of nurses and identifies best places to work.

To earn Pathway to Excellence status, an organization must integrate specific Pathway to Excellence standards into its operating policies, procedures, and management practices. These standards are foundational to an ideal nursing practice environment with a positive impact on nurse job satisfaction and retention. Pathway to Excellence designation confirms to the community that the healthcare organization is committed to nurses, recognizes what is important to nursing practice, and values nurses' contributions in the workplace. Nurses know their efforts are supported. They invite other nurses to join them in this desirable and nurturing environment.

ANCC grants Pathway to Excellence designation for 3 years. Any healthcare organization, regardless of its size, setting, or location, may apply for this mark of excellence.

Program History

In 2003, the Texas Nurses Association (TNA) established its Nurse-Friendly™ hospital program to improve the workplace and positively impact nurse retention. With the help of a 5-year funding grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the program sought to enhance both the quality of patient care and professional satisfaction of nurses working in rural and small hospitals in Texas. TNA designated its first Nurse-Friendly facility in 2005.[1,2]

The program attracted many inquiries from other states about possible expansion. Texas Nurse- Friendly sought to transfer their program to a robust, collegial organization that could build on this success, while assuring the program’s integrity as it expanded nationwide. ANCC was able to facilitate the expansion of the Texas Nurse-Friendly program into a national program and expand the high quality and superb reputation of the TNA Nurse-Friendly hospital program into ANCC’s existing portfolio of credentialing activities. ANCC acquired the program in 2007. In re-launching the Nurse-Friendly hospital designation to a national audience, ANCC renamed the program Pathway to Excellence®.


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