1. Graystone, Rebecca MS, MBA, RN, NE-BC
  2. Pabico, Christine MSN, RN, NE-BC


The Directors of the Magnet Recognition Program(R) and Pathway to Excellence(R) use this column to compare and contrast the 2 programs. Both programs profile nursing excellence.


Article Content

Creating a supportive practice environment that fosters sustained excellence in patient and workforce outcomes and inspires innovation is more important than ever. The American Nurses Credentialing Center's 2 organizational credentialing programs, The Magnet Recognition Program(R) (Magnet Recognition) and Pathway to Excellence(R) Program (Pathway), provide frameworks that support professional nursing practice environments and the excellence in nursing care delivery that results. Hundreds of healthcare organizations across the world have used the Pathway and Magnet frameworks to successfully improve a host of key measures, including nurse engagement, nurse retention, interprofessional collaboration, patient safety, workforce safety, and patient outcomes.


Magnet Recognition1 and Pathway2 are 2 distinct credentialing programs with different standards manuals however having a complementary focus. Whereas the Pathway framework underscores supportive practice environments that promote engaged and empowered staff, Magnet Recognition distinguishes healthcare organizations for professional practice environments that lead to sustained quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional practice, hallmarks of the Magnet program.


The following crosswalk outlines the major similarities and differences between the select general topics within the standards of the 2 prestigious programs. The full set of standards including each program's eligibility requirements are detailed in each application manual (Table 1).

Table 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowTable 1 Program Comparison


These programs were derived and revised using data supporting the previously mentioned standards as influencing practice and outcomes. Nurses and patients across the world have benefited from practice environments molded through the journey to excellence from both Magnet and Pathway. Organizational leaders should evaluate readiness and fit as they identify the path to take.




1. American Nurses Credentialing Center. 2019 Magnet Application Manual. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center; 2017 [Context Link]


2. American Nurses Credentialing Center. 2016 Pathway to Excellence Application Manual. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center; 2016. [Context Link]