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Consider a Career in Nursing Informatics

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Gone are the days when nurses relied on paper documents for medical histories, assessments, diagnoses, past medical procedures and medication dosages. As computers and other technology have taken over handwritten charts, the need for informatics professionals has grown.

What Is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics combines nursing and computer and information sciences to process data and manage information so nurses and other healthcare professionals can use it to facilitate communication, workflow and patient care.

In other words, nursing informatics is about taking data, analyzing it and turning it into useful information. Then the information is put into a digital format to make it accessible via computers and other digital devices. Some examples of digital record-keeping are:

  • Computerized provider order entry (CPOE)
  • Electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Electronic medical records (EMRs)
  • Personal health records (PHRs)

When Did Nursing Informatics Become a Specialty?

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized nursing informatics as a specialty in 1992 when the organization established the first scope and standards for the practice.

What Are the Responsibilities of Nurse Informaticists?

The major responsibility of a nurse informaticist is to implement communication and information technologies that support safe patient care and aid in the effective operation of healthcare systems. Additionally, nurse informaticists use data to form evidence-based policies and procedures. Nursing informaticists carry out these duties:

  • Assess technology needs
  • Use systems to transform data as well as store, transport and control information
  • Test technological systems to make sure they run properly
  • Implement the technology
  • Train staff to use technology
  • Troubleshoot when problems occur
  • Ensure that federal healthcare laws are followed to protect the privacy of patients
  • Serve as a liaison between the staff and IT personnel
  • Conduct research about informatics topics that affect patients and providers

What Is the Base Salary for Nurse Informaticists?

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing healthcare through information and technology, surveys the nursing informatics community every three years. The HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey reported the following salaries.

Base Salary Percentage of Respondents
$101,000 to $115,000 20%
$86,000 to $100,000 25%
$61,000 to 85,000 24%

What Traits Make a Good Nurse Informaticist?

Typically, a good nurse informaticist has these traits:

  • Adaptable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ethical
  • Focused
  • Helpful
  • Persistent
  • Proactive

What Do Nurse Informaticists Like About Their Jobs?

Nurse informaticists enjoy technology, problem-solving and project management. They also revel in using their analytical and critical thinking skills to successfully complete tasks.

How Can You Become a Nurse Informaticist?

To become a nurse informaticist, you must hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a license to practice as a registered nurse (RN). If you have an associate degree in nursing (ADN), you may want to consider enrolling in an RN to BSN program, which is an affordable and convenient option for working RNs to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

As part of the online RN to BSN program, nursing students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville take a course called Information Management in Healthcare. In this introduction to nursing informatics, students learn about a number of topics including the nomenclature and the use of decision support systems.

Informatics is important because information equals knowledge that nurses and providers can use to make patient-care decisions. Additionally, nursing informatics helps boost efficiency, cut costs and reduce errors. RNs who want to provide assistance to patients away from the bedside can make a difference in healthcare by pursuing a career as a nurse informaticist.

Learn more about the UAH online RN to BSN program.


Sources:

HIMSS: What Is Nursing Informatics?

Chron: Qualifications for a Nursing Informatics Specialist

ANA: Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Ed

HealthIT.gov: What Are the Differences Between Electronic Medical Records, Electronic Health Records, and Personal Health Records?

HIMSS: Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey Salary Resource Guide

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