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By empowering nurses today, an organization can address the complex needs of modern health care, and firmly establish a strong position for tomorrow. If your organization is committed to a positive practice environment and investing in nurses, then begin your Pathway to Excellence® journey.

How to apply

The following resources are available to assist in the decision process:

Complete applicant Registration

Step 1:    Prior to registering to apply for Pathway designation, all interested organizations’ eligibility must be determined by the Pathway Program Office. Complete the Applicant Eligibility Details via OARS 2 (

Step 2: After eligibility is approved, the organization must then complete Pathway Applicant Registration (PAR) via All PAR must be received 8 -12 months prior to the intended Pathway Standards Document submission cycle date.

PAR includes:

  • Complete the registration form
  • Upload the following documents:

     (1) CNO or DON curriculum vitae

     (2) Organizational chart(s) that reflects the CNO / DON relationship with the: (a) Executive Leadership; (b) nursing           services and; (c) additional campus(es) as applicable.

     (3) 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.

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

Upload the Pathway Standards Document in the Pathway Portal via

The Pathway to Excellence® Document 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.

Document submission dates:

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

For current fees, please visit Program Fees page.

If applicants are requesting a Pathway Standards Document extension, they may choose from the next two submission cycles – dependent on availability. However, applicants requesting to extend beyond two submission cycles must reapply.

Upload the Pathway Standards Document

Organizational demographic form

All organizations must also submit a completed Organizational Demographic Form (ODF) as part of the Pathway Standards Document.

The ODF collects organizational data, and is used in conjunction with the other requested organizational information to provide reviewers with context for understanding the evidence submitted by applicants.

In addition, organizations that achieve Pathway to Excellence designation are required to submit an updated ODF during their mid-cycle year as part of their interim monitoring requirements. Please see Interim Monitoring Requirements for more information.

If your organization is committed to a positive practice environment and investing in nurses, then begin your Pathway to Excellence journey


Organizations that successfully pass the Pathway Standards Document review phase will be notified by the Pathway Program Office to advance to the nurse survey phase.

Learn more about the Pathway nurse survey.

Designation requirements

To achieve the Pathway to Excellence or Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care designation:

  • All Practice Standards must be met; and
  • Survey thresholds must be met.

The Commission on Pathway to Excellence makes the final determination regarding designation.

Please Note: When an organization’s designation expires and if the organization fails to designate, the next time that organization applies will be considered a Re-application.


Phone: 1.800.284.2378

ANCC Pathway to Excellence® Program Included in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey


Hospitals participating in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey that indicate a current Pathway to Excellence designation as determined by ANCC under the 2020 Pathway to Excellence Application Manual, will earn full credit for the National Quality Forum-endorsed Safe Practice #9 - Nursing Workforce. Questions? Email

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