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What is Nursing Informatics?
Nursing Informatics is a field that combines nursing science with technology and information science. Information management and communication plays an important role in healthcare because health information is largely computerized. The goal of nursing informatics is to advance technology in the healthcare environment in order to promote higher quality patient care.
What is the Daily Routine for a Nurse Specialized in Informatics?
Informatics nurses are responsible for a variety of tasks, depending on their employer and the position they hold within the organization. According to HIMSS, these specialists often work in hospitals, the health system, academia, vendor organization, consulting, government or military organizations, ambulatory care, and a variety of other settings. The same report states that some common responsibilities of these professionals involve systems implementation or development, strategic planning, informatics or nursing education, and quality improvement. In other words, these nurses work with information systems in attempt to improve the quality of information management and communication in nursing and to help create information systems that better meet the needs of nurses. Many informatics nurses have little involvement with direct patient care, though this is part of their past experience.
What are the Education and Certification Requirements?
While there is no standard education level needed to work in nursing informatics, there is a more clear-cut path to becoming board certified in this specialization.
According to the American Nurse Credentialing Board (ANCB), one must have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field in order to be eligible for the informatics nursing certification. In addition, one must have worked at least 2 years as a registered nurse and completed 30 hours of continuing education related to informatics within the past 3 years. Applicants must also meet the informatics practice hour requirement set by the board.
Although an individual can become a certified informatics nurse with a bachelor's degree, many graduate level nursing programs give the option of earning a degree in this specialization. Choosing to earn a master's or doctoral level degree may lead to better job opportunities and a higher earning potential.
What is the Average Salary?
The average salary of an individual specialized in nursing informatics is difficult to estimate, as this specialization is fairly new and there is little data available. This information is subject to change and varies by location, employer, position, and an individual's education and experience level. In a 2011 HIMSS survey, the average salary of respondents was $98,702, and over half of the respondents reported having earned a master's or doctoral degree.
What is the Job Outlook?
It is unclear what the demand will be for nursing informatics in the future, but it seems that the job outlook is positive. According to an article published by American Sentinel University in 2011, the government's support of electronic health records indicates that informatics jobs will become increasingly available in the healthcare setting.
For medical records and health information technicians, a similar occupation, a 2010 report by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicted 21% job growth. Though this outlook is not specifically for nursing informatics, it can be used to help predict job growth.