Welcome to our main Nursing Informatics Guide – part of our series of nursing career guides. This article deals with everything you need to know about the field of Nursing informatics, which provides nurses with the skills and information needed to work in today’s technological society.
The career combines nursing with information technology (IT) so healthcare systems can be developed for nurses. By taking this approach, patient care improves and better outcomes result. They are highly trained and well paid within nurse specialties.
- 1 What is Nursing Informatics?
- 2 Nurse Informatics Training
- 3 Nurse Informatics Duties
- 4 Where Can You Work in Nurse Informatics?
- 5 Nurse Informatics Salary Range
- 6 Career Outlook
What is Nursing Informatics?
Nursing informatics includes the following technological support:
- Electronic medical records or EMRs that include nursing notes, medication records, test results and progress notes and reports.
- Computerized provider order entry, also referred to as CPOE.
Because of the innovations in technology, nursing informatics makes it possible for nurses to communicate better with patients while overseeing their care. Direct observations can more easily be made, which helps doctors and nurses treat patients more easily.
Better and Safer Patient Care
Nursing informatics is indeed important as nurses need interpreted details to safely care for patients. They need quick access to medical records and documentation including histories, imaging results, and lists of medications. A nurse also needs to refer to notes to get a better idea of a patient’s status clinically.
Nurse Informatics vs. Health Informatics
There is a big difference in these two specialties. Nurse informatics is primarily related to patient care, evaluation and reporting – ensuring that all the technology systems used by nurses is efficient.
Health informatics leans more towards overall systems in the healthcare environment – compliance, data handling and administration.
Nurse Informatics Training
How to become a nursing informatics specialist? If you are a nurse who is a problem-solver and likes analytics, you may find that working as a Nurse Informaticist may be right for you. Most people enter this career from a nursing background – they have already trained and worked in nursing. They then specialize in this field.
To obtain this type of job, you should hold at least a bachelor’s degree in the nursing field, or a BSN. You do not need an advanced nursing degree. However, educational experts recommend that you take the training. To receive an advanced degree, you should obtain a Master’s of Nursing or MSN or a DNP (a doctoral degree).
Basic Educational Requirements
Before you enroll in a nursing informatics program, you may need to acquire a couple years’ experience in a clinical setting. The curriculum for nursing informatics may include the following:
- Clinical information system
- Informatics theory
- Database management
- Project management
You also need to hone your research skills and obtain leadership training. To obtain certification in informatics, you can work in the field with MSN or DNP training. You can also go through an independent study program such as the one offered by the ANCC, or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Certain learning institutes also offer independent study.
The ANCC provides certification for nursing informatics, provided that the applicant has attained a bachelor’s degree and has practiced as an RN for two years (full time) or four years (part time). She or he should also complete continuing education courses in nursing informatics before applying for certification. Thirty hours of coursework are required to apply for certification.
Practice hour requirements vary. The nurse interested in nursing informatics must have practiced at least 2000 hours of informatics within the prior three years or practiced 1000 hours of informatics and completed 12 semester hours in the training. Candidates may also apply for certification if they have completed graduate studies in nursing informatics, including 200 hours that were supervised.
Once you take the exam for certification and receive your certificate, your certification is good for five years. Nursing Informatics licensure and certification are two different things. While licensure means that you can practice in your field in your state, certification means that you have the skills needed to perform in the field.
By working as a Nurse Informatics specialist, you will find that you can expand your reach in the teaching field. You will also be able to play a major role in developing technology in the medical field.
Who to Contact for More Information
If you feel that you want to make a difference in the type of care a patient receives and you have an analytical nature, you should review the educational opportunities for Nurse Informaticists. You can gain specific details about this type of career by contacting an organization such as the Alliance for Nursing Informatics or the American Medical Informatics Association.
Maybe you have already worked as an RN for several years or have completed advanced nursing training. If so, you can expand your reach as a nursing professional by taking an informatics program.
Career-track programs are available that can be performed online. For instance, colleges feature online education that gives nurses additional training so they can receive an education in nursing informatics.
Talk to a School About Making Nursing Informatics a Specialty
Colleges that offer nursing and nursing informatics training should be endorsed by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or the CCNE. When you inquire about taking a nursing informatics curriculum, you will need to tell the school the level of education that you have completed.
You can add that you have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in nursing or another area of study such as business, analytics, or public health.
Other Advanced Nursing Specialties
If you are seeking a specialization, you can choose nursing informatics as well as other advanced specialties such as the following:
- MSN – care coordination
- MSN – leadership and administration
- MSN – nursing education
You can also take a career path that leads you from a BSN to an MSN in nursing and finally to a specialty. As you can see, you can follow a career path that will be as challenging as it is rewarding. By going online, you can see exactly what courses are featured and plan your study accordingly.
Today, nurses can make their jobs more interesting by taking advanced educational programs. These programs give them an edge and a way to earn the credentials they need to make themselves more marketable.
Again, you can obtain an informatics certificate while focusing on getting an MSN in nursing, IT, or health administration. Both MSN and RN-MSN informatics programs enable you to obtain the education required to sit for the ANCC nursing informatics certification exam.
Try Self-Paced Learning If You Are Pressed for Time
Would you like to know more? Go online and see what online programs offer. Many programs offer a self-paced learning experience that you can coordinate with your current work schedule conveniently.
Take time now to think about what you want to achieve in the nursing field. Make your dream come true by finding out more information online and applying to a school right now.
Online programs make it possible for you to take a flexible educational path to achieving your nursing goals. To recap: you can take programs that lead to an MSN in nursing informatics, a RN-to-MSN in nursing informatics, or concentrate on graduate work that leads to a certificate in health care informatics. All these programs can be taken in the comfort of your home.
Nurse Informatics Duties
Other responsibilities that will help you gain a firm footing include the following:
- Evaluating and analyzing a health care facility’s technology
- Designing computerized health care systems
- Testing and evaluating IT systems
- Implementing IT, including training the staff, problem-solving, and reviewing issues
- Helping in transitional system changes
- Serving, in some venues, as a project manager
- Researching various subjects that affect patient care
- Assessing and revising technologies
- Making that sure health care facilities comply with U.S. health care legislation
- Serving as an IT resource to the medical staff
- Acting as a liaison between IT professionals and the medical staff
- Reviewing user needs and requirements and implementing solutions
- Teaching the medical staff and new nursing employees
- Forming the policies and standards for the healthcare organization
Where Can You Work in Nurse Informatics?
You might consider nursing informatics as a type of crossover assignment. Today, healthcare is becoming more and more technological. Therefore, the nursing field needs professionals who are interested in IT and wish to become part of the changing technology.
Nurse Informaticists work in a variety of settings including the following:
- IT firms
- Long-term residential or health facilities
- Healthcare consulting companies
- Nursing schools
If you want to help integrate new IT applications into the daily operations of a healthcare facility, you will welcome the chance to do so. Nursing informatics makes it possible for nurses who love to analyze and troubleshoot to change how things are done at a medical site. They can use their skills to offer continued support to medical facilities as well as nursing students.
Nurse Informatics Salary Range
There is no dedicated salary information available from sources such as the BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries are difficult to record due to the relative newness of this specialty and the relatively small number of people employed.
A workforce study from 2017 reported that 46% of respondents earned over $100,000 per year – and these figures have been rising steadily.
From this data you can reasonably expect salaries in the range of $80,000 to $115,000 depending on education and experience.
Nursing informatics salaries will depend on the degrees you hold, your employment background, and educational and clinical experience. The state you work in will also have an influence on potential salaries – in line with other nursing careers.
Nursing in and of itself continues to grow, thanks to the growing aging population. That is why the field of nursing informatics holds a particular interest to nursing students. States that pay the highest nursing salaries include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon.
Naturally, you also have to factor the cost of living into the equation. These states also provide high-paying opportunities to nurses who are interested in becoming Nurse Informaticists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a growth rate of just over 20% is projected for nurses who wish to pursue a career as a Nurse Informaticist. The need to for nurses in the IT area will make it possible for nursing students and nurses to take what they know and improve medical care with the use of technology.
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