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Apply for the Pathway to Excellence®

The 2020 Pathway to Excellence & Pathway to Excellence in Long-Term Care Application Manual is now available for purchase. This is a revision of both the 2016 Pathway to Excellence and 2017 Pathway to Excellence in Long-Term Care Application manuals. The requirements for both designations are included in this one manual. There are some new concepts, however, much of the 2020 manual remains similar to the current versions. Organizations applying or re-applying for either designation are required to write to the new elements of performance in the 2020 manual beginning with the February 1, 2021 cycle.

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

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.

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 an initial application.


Phone: 1.800.284.2378

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