Nursing and computer science may seem like two fields that are unlikely to intersect with one another very often. However, behind every nurse providing care in clinics and hospitals across the country is a wealth of technology and data — and the professionals responsible for developing these technologies and analyzing this data are known as nursing informatics professionals.
If you are interested in a career in the nursing field but also have a passion for information technology and analytical science, then a career in nursing informatics is a rewarding option to consider. In this article, we will explore what nursing informatics is, the roles and responsibilities of a nursing informatics professional, and the job outlook for this unique nursing career.
What is Nursing Informatics?
According to the American Nursing Association, “Nursing informatics (NI) is the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice.”
Nursing informatics incorporates the fields of nursing, computer science, and information science in order to manage medical data and develop and maintain data systems that are designed to improve patient outcomes as well as boost the overall performance of a healthcare organization.
What Do Nursing Informatics Professionals Do?
One of the primary roles of a nurse informatic is to analyze a wide variety of data to pinpoint solutions that will allow an organization’s nurses to provide higher quality care in addition to finding solutions that will enable nursing staff to operate in a more cost-efficient manner. Once a nursing informatics professional has found such solutions via data analytics, they are then responsible for helping communicate, integrate, and implement those solutions with the nurses under their charge as well as the organization’s decision.
A nursing informatics professional is also responsible for helping develop and maintain the data systems and custom software solutions that a healthcare organization relies on to support its nursing staff and ensure patients receive quality health care. While a nursing informatics professional may not be charged with developing these systems from the ground up, they will often be charged with helping adapt such systems to an organization’s unique needs and ensure that these systems are kept optimized and up to date.
Lastly, nurse informatics spend a lot of their time focusing on the efficient and accurate documentation of patient information. Once a nurse has collected a patient’s medical information, a nursing informatics professional works to analyze the data to allow healthcare providers insight to make better and more timely decisions regarding patient care.
Why is Nursing Informatics Important?
Nurse informatics plays a prominent role in the development and maintenance of the technological solutions that nurses rely on to provide optimum patient care. In order to care for patients safely, nurses need reliable and efficient access to information such as lab results, medical histories, medication lists, physician notes, and more. A nursing informatics professional is responsible for overseeing the data systems where this information is stored. In addition to leveraging data to improve patient outcomes, a nursing informatics professional also employs data analytics to help improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of an organization’s nursing operations.
Healthcare organizations rely on data to make important decisions regarding patient care as well as procedural and financial decisions. By working to ensure that this vital data is collected, organized, analyzed, and implemented in the best way possible, nursing informatics is something that can improve multiple aspects of a healthcare organization’s nursing processes, making it a highly important field in modern healthcare.
Nursing Informatics Education and Training Requirements
The career path for a nursing informatics professional begins with a bachelor’s degree in nursing such as a BSN. While some who earn a BSN can jump directly into a career as a nursing informatics professional, obtaining an advanced-practice degree is highly recommended for anyone who wants to pursue a career in this field. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and a master’s in computer science are three common advanced-practice degrees for those pursuing a career in nursing informatics.
Once you have earned a BSN and completed an advanced-practice graduate program, you will then need to obtain your certification in informatics from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Examples of eligibility requirements for this certification include:
- Hold of a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Have practiced as a registered nurse full-time for two years or have practiced as a registered nurse for the part-time equivalent
- Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing informatics
- Have completed practice hour requirements that can vary based upon your level of education in nursing informatics
Salary and Job Outlook for Nursing Informatics
As the US population continues to age, demand for healthcare professionals across the board is expected to keep growing at a faster than average rate. According to the Department of Labor, demand for nursing informatics professionals is expected to grow by 9% through 2028. The Department of Labor also says that nursing informatics specialists can look forward to earning a salary that ranges between $70,000 to $117,120 per year based on experience, and nursing informatics is considered one of the higher paying nursing careers.
If you would like to get started working toward a rewarding career as a nursing informatics professional, we at the American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Science at Post University are here to help. Our MSN degree with a specialization in nursing informatics is the perfect choice for anyone who has already earned their BSN and would like to earn an advanced-practice degree that will prepare them for a career in nursing informatics. To learn more about applying for this exciting program, feel free to contact us today!
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