Nursing informatics is a branch of nursing that provides a lot of opportunities for students who want to enter into the healthcare industry. This career path attracts some of the best salaries in nursing and contributes to job satisfaction. It is a perfect option for those who want to explore their IT skills while at the same time taking care of patients. Here is an overview of what nurse informatics entails.

Definition

Nursing informatics (NI) is a discipline that combines nursing science with information management and analytical sciences to identify, communicate and manage data, knowledge and information in nursing practice. The main aim of this discipline is to help healthcare providers and patients make informed decisions and achieve desired outcomes. This support is realized through the application of information technology, structures and processes.

Why It is Important

Technology has become an integral part of the healthcare industry. To keep up with the changing nature of technology and the increasing need for quality care, many health facilities are recognizing the importance of employing IT professionals. The federal law also requires health facilities to come up with new ways of keeping records. Congress passed a bill in 2009 calling for healthcare providers to switch from paper to electronic data collection and storage.

This is good news for those who want to integrate their nursing knowledge with IT. These people play a critical role in helping health facilities develop strategies focused on improving their services. This includes quality metrics improvement, care coordination, clinical integration and primary care efficiency.

Responsibilities of a Nurse Informatics Specialist

Those who want to become nurse informatics specialists have a lot of responsibilities in healthcare. These responsibilities revolve around policy writing, project management, quality control, system design and choosing systems. Other responsibilities include testing and training patients and educating other nurses on IT.

Becoming a Nurse Informatics Specialist

You will need at least a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) to pursue a career in informatics. The BSN degree takes four years to complete. Those with associate's degrees can enroll in accelerated programs, which take between 12 and 18 months to complete. You must also have an active registered nurse (RN) license to become an informatics specialist.

Many healthcare facilities prefer individuals who have graduated with a Master of Science (MSN) in Healthcare Informatics. This program trains you specifically for a career as a specialist in informatics. You will learn about health law and ethics, health information systems, measuring performance standards, data management and systems life cycle.

You will require a certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center to increase your job prospects. You can also try the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for additional certification. This organization offers Certified Associate in Healthcare Information Management Systems (CAHIMS) certification.

Career Path

The nurse informatics discipline is growing at a satisfying rate. Those who want to enter into this career can choose to become nurse vendor representatives, nurse communicators, nurse managers or nurse programmers. One benefit of nurse informatics is the ability to work in many medical fields. You can work in public health, pharmacology, intensive care and primary care.

Career Outlook and Salary

The demand for nurse informatics specialists will continue to increase over the next several years. This is because of the increasing need by hospitals to embrace technology for data collection and management. Their salaries vary depending on location, education and the scope of work. According to PayScale, nurse informatics specialists earn between $66,358 and $104,917 per year.

The increasing use of technology in healthcare means huge prospects for those who want to specialize in informatics. All you need is the right education and a positive attitude to succeed in a nursing informatics career.
See also:10 of the Cheapest Nursing Degree Programs