American Nurses Credentialing Center’s ‘Pathway to Excellence’ award is first in state


In recognition of the high level of nursing care provided at Mercy Hospital Ardmore, the American Nurses Credentialing Center has awarded it Oklahoma’s first “Pathway to Excellence” designation.
The designation underscores the quality, engagement and satisfaction of nurses at Mercy Hospital Ardmore and identifies it as one of the best places to work, with a supportive environment that engages bedside nurses in decision-making and provides opportunities to grow professionally.
“Pathway is our way of showing our commitment to the community that nursing as a profession is highly valued here and to set the expectation for the high quality of care we strive to provide to every patient we serve,” said Daryle Voss, president of Mercy Hospital Ardmore.
Only two hospitals in Oklahoma are Pathway-designated. To obtain the designation, hospitals must demonstrate their commitment to excellent nursing care through training, continuing education, compensation, empowering bedside nurses to make decisions and a focus on nurses’ overall well-being and engagement. Nurses verify the information through a confidential online survey.
“For our patients, having an environment in an organization that is supportive of nursing ensures we can have quality at the bedside,” said Debbie Pender, vice president of nursing for the hospital. “The patient is the winner in all of this.”
Mercy Hospital Ardmore was already doing most of the things required for the designation, such as conducting salary surveys and holding town halls, Pender noted.
“We already felt we met the criteria. We just had to demonstrate how we do it,” she said. But, she said, “I think the journey makes you more knowledgeable.”
As a result of the application process, the hospital revamped its orientation for new employees and developed a charge nurse education class. The details of the two-year journey make up a 767-page application packet.
Mercy submitted testimonials about what it has done to help nurses grow. Several described educational and professional development opportunities. Wound care nurse Jamie Spence’s testimonial was one of them.
Spence is studying to become a clinical nurse specialist, something that wouldn’t have been possible without a scholarship from Mercy and a supportive environment for working students. She will complete the three-year program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in a year.