The journey to ANCC Magnet® or Pathway to Excellence® designation can feel all-consuming. There is data to compile and report, structures to build, processes to identify and improve—all occurring over a period of years. It’s hard work, but your reward is a vibrant culture of continuous improvement, a world-class nursing practice environment and improved patient outcomes and fiscal health.

However, outside nursing, the value of your journey might not be fully understood by your interprofessional partners and hospital executive team.

All too often, the only time anyone outside nursing hears about Magnet or Pathway to Excellence is when you achieve designation and redesignation every four or five years. That’s simply not good enough when administrators are making difficult daily budget decisions about where to allocate limited resources.

As a nurse leader, you need to elevate your nursing team and your vision for excellence by telling your story with rigor and repetition: You need a strategic communications plan.

Here is an overview of the key components of a nursing excellence communications plan:

  1. Define Your Goals/Objectives

As with any successful project, you should have goals and outcomes for your nursing excellence communications plan, such as to foster clarity and buy-in of your journey with all audiences and increase trust in your nursing leadership team.

  1. Define Your Communications Strategies

What are the strategies for achieving your communications goals? What is the most effective approach for building and reinforcing your culture? Strategies might include involving leaders and managers as key communicators or focusing on outcomes for your interprofessional partners and executives.

  1. Identify Your Audiences

Who are the key stakeholders and audiences that you would like to influence to achieve your objectives? What are their preferred communications channels? What are your goals for each audience?

  1. Determine Your Messaging

You should be consistent throughout your campaign. The best way to do this is to identify your messaging and—like a politician—repeat it over and over. You will likely have variations of that key messaging for each of your audiences.

  1. Put It All Together in a Tactical Communications Schedule

This is the end deliverable that will keep you on track. You will know your strategies, your audiences and your message. Now you put it all into a master schedule that ensures you communicate using the appropriate channels and frequency. The schedule keeps you on target and helps ensure all audiences receive communications. You will also define metrics at this stage to ensure you are making a difference. If your plan isn’t delivering the results you seek, you can use your metrics to help redefine your strategies and tactics.

By developing and implementing a communications strategy, you can maximize the value of your drive to nursing excellence and make sure your nurses are recognized for their effort.

For more information on how to develop a nurse leader communications plan to support transformational nursing excellence and your journey to Magnet or Pathway, feel free to contact Tipton Health at