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Pathway Program Overview

The Pathway to Excellence Program® is the premier designation for healthy work environments and recognizes health care organizations and Long Term Care organizations for positive practice environments where nurses excel. Any size or type of health care group where nurses care for patients may apply. Long term care organizations pursue a dedicated application and review process that addresses standards unique to that environment. Learn more about Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care.

To qualify, organizations meet six Practice Standards essential to an ideal nursing practice environment. Applicants conduct a review process to fully document the integration of those standards in the organization's practices, policies, and culture. Pathway designation can only be achieved if an organization's nurses validate the data and other evidence submitted, via an independent, confidential survey. This critical element exemplifies the theme of empowering and giving nurses a voice.

Nurses trust that Pathway-designated organizations respect nursing contributions, support professional development and nurture optimal practice environments. Communities want satisfied nurses because they are better equipped to deliver higher quality care.

Organizations may hold Pathway and Magnet designations simultaneously.


  • Improve nurse satisfaction
  • Retain choice nursing staff & leaders
  • Cultivate inter-professional teamwork
  • Champion high quality nursing practice
  • Support business growth

Learn More

National Recognition
Pathway-designated organizations include those recognized by:

  • Modern Healthcare Great Places to Work in Healthcare
  • US News & World Report Best Hospitals

Credential Marks
Organizations that achieve Pathway to Excellence designation gain the advantage of using an official logo (shown below) in their marketing and promotion. The Pathway to Excellence® and Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care® certification marks are legally trademarked symbols and must be used in accordance with Pathway to Excellence Toolkit & Logo Guidelines