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ISO Journey at ANCC

ANCC Earns Prestigious International Certification for Operational Excellence
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA) has successfully completed its journey towards ISO 9001:2008 certification includes professional services rendered in the administration of the Magnet Recognition Program® for excellence in nursing in healthcare organizations, the Accreditation Program for excellence in continuing nursing education, Pathway to Excellence® Program for excellence in healthcare organizations and the Certification Program. All of ANCC's credentialing programs are now ISO certified.

ISO 9001:2008 certification is the firmly established global standard for assuring stakeholders of an organization's ability to satisfy quality-related requirements.

ISO as a Value to ANCC
Given that there is no national accreditation available to ANCC's credentialing programs, ISO 9001 was pursued and achieved to provide third party independent attestation to the high level of quality and excellence to which these programs adhere.

The benefits to ANCC of achieving ISO 9001 have been numerous. Internally, processes are better defined which leads to efficiencies in operations and improved customer satisfaction. This heightens our reputation and recognition in the market. Within the international community, an ISO-registered organization is considered to have received the gold seal of approval issued by one of the highest authorities in global quality management systems (QMS). Programs, products, and services are based on uniform policies, denoting that agencies seeking ANCC credentials in Beirut, Lebanon will enjoy the same level of quality products and services as interested parties in Houston, United States.

As ANCC representatives have traveled internationally, questions have arisen as to whether ANCC is ISO registered. When the answer is affirmative, there follows a nod of approval and a launch into a business dialog. In this way, ISO serves as common currency for engaging in business at a level of trust that might otherwise take years to cultivate.

Within ANCC, risk is minimized when policies and procedures are developed and administered consistently across the organization. Staff is significantly less likely to provide arbitrary, misinformed, or capricious responses to constituents. Customer service surveys are part of the ISO fabric, allowing for early detection of programmatic or service weaknesses. As well, staff is oriented to the work in a clear and consistent manner; and each is supported in knowing where to find reputable answers to queries. An anticipated consequence is that processes are conducted in an efficient, effective, and cost-contained manner.

Finally, ANCC credentialing programs advise health care communities about the advantages of achieving credentialing excellence. When such statements are supported by ANCC seeking external validation as a mark of excellent performance, clients and potential clients will likely appreciate that ANCC values what credentialing stands for and is willing to undergo the level of scrutiny required of its clients.

ISO Journey at ANCC
The initial scope of registration, which ANCC received in December 2007, included the Magnet Recognition Program and the Accreditation Program. One year later, as required, ANCC successfully passed an annual surveillance audit to maintain the registration. ANCC's Certification Program and Pathway to Excellence Program achieved ISO certification in December 2009. Measurement Services and the Institute for Credentialing Innovation achieved ISO certification in 2010.

The application of the ISO logo denotes that the entire ANCC organization is ISO registered. This designation marks ANCC globally as a highly credible organization that provides the highest level of services and quality around the world.

What Is ISO 9001?
ISO is the world's largest standards developing organization. ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies of 157 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. Between 1947 and the present day, ISO has published more than 16,500 International Standards, ranging from standards for activities such as agriculture and construction, through mechanical engineering, to medical devices, to the newest information technology developments.

ISO 9001:2008 requires organizations to demonstrate that they do what they say they do. The certification requires documented processes, clear-cut responsibilities, ongoing training, internal checks for compliance and continual improvement. It is intended to tell customers that the ISO certified organization has a system in place to deliver consistent services and that it conducts periodic internal audits of its system to ensure consistency and improvement. ISO certification demonstrates a commitment to quality products and services, strong customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement.

To receive an ISO 9001:2008 registration an organization must implement the necessary processes and procedures, document and control the processes, establish metrics to monitor performance, and demonstrate continual improvement. The registration is valid for three years, contingent upon successful annual surveillance audits.

Organizations that implement an ISO 9001:2008 QMS usually realize important benefits, including a more organized operating environment, efficiencies in operations, improved employee morale, and improved customer satisfaction. Implementation of an ISO 9001 QMS helps to build a strong quality culture of ownership, accountability, and overall improved performance. Roles and responsibilities are clearly articulated, processes are defined and documented, and an overall culture of standardization, consistency, and quality result.