It goes with the job-seeking territory that you’ll be evaluated by recruiters and human resources personnel. But healthcare professionals, especially nurses, can do their own research of prospective employers. And one tool is called the Pathway to Excellence program.
The Pathway program is operated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in Silver Spring, Md. Healthcare organizations pay thousands of dollars, based on numbers of beds or patient visitors, for the designation after undergoing a multilevel evaluation.
The designation is awarded to hospitals and other organizations that maintain a work environment conducive to best-practice nursing standards and nurses’ advancement. The application process includes a confidential survey completed by the facility’s nursing staff, covering 28 topics including the following:
– decision-making about standards of care;
– staffing plans;
– reporting processes;
– evaluations of nurse managers.
The Pathways designation serves as a recruitment and retention tool, says Patsy Deyo, senior Pathway nurse specialist at the ANCC.”Nurses know their efforts are supported,” she says in an e-mail statement. “They invite other nurses to join them in this desirable and nurturing environment.”
At Pathway-designated North Hills Hospital in North Richland Hills, Texas, chief nursing officer Jane McCurley says in an e-mail that the hospital’s retention rates and staff nurse participation on committees increased through the Pathway program.
“The difference in the strength of our nursing department is palpable,” she says. “Pride and camaraderie were apparent as we worked on strengthening nurse autonomy and other criteria for designation.”
Chief nursing officer Victoria King at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital in Texas, says the program “recognizes the aspects of the nursing work environment that have a direct impact on whether a nurse wants to join the hospital and wants to continue to work there.” The five Memorial Hermann hospitals received their designation in 2008. Numerous studies have indicated that the work environment is a major factor for nurses, and it drives both recruitment and retention, King says.
Consider becoming a Pathway reviewer
Nurses who want to add to experiences on their resumes can apply to be Pathway reviewers. Reviewers must be employed RNs with a BSN and five years of experience, or an MSN to be a lead reviewer; members of the American Nurses Association or an affiliate; have no sanctions or actions against their license; and be willing to commit to two years. To be considered, you’ll need to submit an application, curriculum vitae or resume, essay and letter of support from your current employer.
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