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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.

Before the Journey

Applying for the Pathway to Excellence® or Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care® designation is a significant commitment that requires high-level oversight, a realistic timeline, and a realistic budget. Conducting a Self-Assessment of Organizational Culture is a good first step to determine the gap between the organization’s current and desired state.

Step 1: Applicant Registration

All application materials must be received via the Pathway Portal at least 8 -12 months before the requested date of the Pathway Standards document submission.
Register via the Pathway Portal online application: Pathway Applicant Registration includes:

  • Complete the registration form
  • Upload the following documents:
  • CNO or DON curriculum vitae
  • Organizational chart(s) that reflects the CNO / DON relationship with the 1) Executive Leadership 2) nursing services and 3) additional campus(es) as applicable.
  • Operating license or other independent verification of licensed beds if applicable.
  • Pay the non-refundable Applicant Registration fee application fee at the time of application, with a check or credit card via the Pathway Portal.

Check Remittance address

ANCC Pathway
P.O. Box 505035
St. Louis, MO 63150-5035

The Applicant Registration will be processed once the above is fulfilled.

Step 2: Pathway Standards Document (PSD)

Applicant organizations are required to:

Upload the Pathway Standards Document in the Pathway Portal via by the submission date deadline.

The Pathway Standards Document (PSD) is an organization’s written response to the requirements of the application manual. It includes the Organizational Demographic Form (ODF), Organizational Overview (OO) documents, and Elements of Performance (EOP) Narratives showing how the standards are implemented. This is used as the primary appraisal method for applicant organizations.

Pathway Standards Document submission dates:

  • February 1
  • April 1
  • June 1
  • August 1
  • November 1

For current fees, please visit Program Fees page.

Step 3: Pathway Survey

Following a successful Pathway Standards document review, nurses complete the Pathway Survey to indicate whether the Pathway Standards have been enculturated. For some organizations, may include non-nurse midwives and nursing assistants. The organization must meet survey thresholds.

Step 4: Recognition and Reflection

Pending the Pathway designation decision, organizations reflect on the accomplishments of their Pathway Journey and establish a plan for sustaining engagement and continuous pursuit of excellence.

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