Tahoe Forest Health System earns redesignation as ‘Pathway to Excellence’ facility

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. – The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recently awarded Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) for the second time the prestigious “Pathway to Excellence” designation. To earn this recognition a thorough review process was conducted documenting quality initiatives in TFHS’s practices, policies and culture while also acknowledging essential elements of an ideal nursing practice environment.

“I would like to thank Alyce Wong, nursing planning and development chairwoman, and the nursing leadership team for the work they did in preparing the Pathway to Excellence application and our ‘proof’ of numerous achievements,” said Sandi Golonka, chief nursing officer, Tahoe Forest Health System. “I would also like to thank the nursing staff for its outstanding 94 percent survey return rate online that reflected overall very positive responses at 93 percent.”

As a Pathway to Excellence designated organization, TFHS shows its commitment to nurses, to what nurses identify as important to their practice and to valuing nurses’ contributions in the workplace. This designation confirms their efforts are supported and appreciated. The honor also encourages other nurses, not employed at TFHS, to join their colleagues in this desirable and nurturing environment.

In addition, the Pathway to Excellence designation is granted based on the confirmed presence of characteristics known as “The Pathway to Excellence Criteria.” An organization must successfully undergo a review process that documents foundational quality initiatives in creating a positive work environment – as defined by nurses and supported by research. These initiatives must be present in the facility’s practices, policies, and culture. Nurses in the organization verify the presence of the criteria in the organization through participation in a completely confidential online survey.

“This award validates and illustrates that our nursing staff feels a great sense of professional satisfaction working and practicing at Tahoe Forest Hospital,” said Golonka.

The award also recognizes and focuses on nurses achieving a balanced lifestyle; working in a collaborative atmosphere, having a positive nurse job satisfaction and retention and feeling and knowing their contributions are valued. The main focus of the designation is to award overall excellence in the work place.

Most nurses are familiar with the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. Pathway to Excellence differs from Magnet, in that Magnet also recognizes excellence in patient care, with standards that encompass leadership, professional practice and development, innovation and research, and outcomes with an emphasis on nursing research.

Pathway to Excellence evolved from the former Texas Nurses Association’s Texas Nurse Friendly Hospital initiative, which launched in 2003. Fifty-one hospitals earned that distinction, meeting 12 practice standards to improve the work environment and, in turn, retention. Those hospitals were grandfathered into the new program, when ANCC assumed ownership of the program in 2007.

Tahoe Forest Hospital was the first recipient nationally of the Pathway to Excellence designation in 2009.

For more information about Tahoe Forest Health System, visit

– Submitted to

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