What Is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics is one of the many areas of specialization available to registered nurses (RNs). Informatics combines medical sciences, computer sciences, and informational sciences. Nursing informatics is generally less concerned with patient bedside care, and more focused on developing medical data and systems to better support both caregivers and patients. Although it may involve less direct clinical practice, it is an essential element of the modern metaparadigm of nursing, and impacts the entire continuum of care, from the patient experience to population health outcomes at large.

There are a variety of different titles used for nursing informatics. Although exact job requirements may shift from title to title and employer to employer, they generally all fit the same job roles and responsibilities. Common informatics job titles include:

  • Clinical analyst;
  • Clinical informatics coordinator;
  • Clinical nurse informatics specialist;
  • IT clinical nurse;
  • Nurse informaticist;
  • Nursing informatics clinician;
  • Nursing informatics specialist;
  • Perioperative informatics nurse.

Nursing Informaticist Job Description

A nursing informaticist’s day-to-day routine will continue to evolve as the technology that is made readily available evolves, but for the most part they are involved with larger patient groups rather than one-on-one patient care. Some examples of the responsibilities of nurse informaticists are:

  • Acting as a technology translator;
  • Assessing/auditing health care facility technology demands;
  • Assist with project management;
  • Attend technology trade shows and training;
  • Design technology;
  • Enforce health care laws;
  • Implement new technology solutions;
  • Research new innovative technology;
  • Test technology;
  • Train employees/employers on technology;
  • Troubleshoot technological issues;
  • Update/develop facility technology policies.

By and large, nursing informatics is the link between clinical care and patient care. This makes it important for nurse specialists to have a strong grasp of basic nursing skills in order to provide adequate support through technology and information management.

Importance of Nursing Informatics

Nursing informatics is important because it attempts to mitigate technological gaps within the healthcare industry. As technology becomes more readily available, facilities need nursing informaticists to effectively implement new technology and carry out employee training. Additionally, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare becomes more prevalent, there needs to be someone dedicated to research, practice, develop, and train other employees on how to use the technology.

To elaborate, one of the pain-points in healthcare is the impacts of healthcare shortage. With fewer workers available, viable technology implementation and training becomes even more necessary.

How to Become a Nurse Informatics Specialist

There are a few different ways to become a nurse informatics specialist, but they all generally start with becoming certified as a registered nurse (RN). Although the process varies between states, some form of education requirements, examination requirements, and certification requirements will probably be referenced.

Nurse Informatics Education Requirements

As mentioned above, the first step for covering education requirements is to attend and graduate from a nursing school program. These programs generally take around four years to complete, and they cover all the necessary skills for becoming a successful RN. An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) may be acceptable in some cases, but most employers prefer nurse informaticists to have obtained a Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing (BSN). Some employers may only hire nurse informaticists with a Master’s in the Science of Nursing (MSN).

After you have obtained either your ADN, BSN, or MSN, you need to take and pass the NCLEX examination. All states use the NCLEX exam, but additional certification requirements vary from state to state. You can find various study guides and practice tests online to help you prepare for the exam.

Nursing Informatics Certification Requirements

It is not required to obtain special certification outside of your RN certification in order to become an informatics nurse — although as time goes on, many expect this will not be the case. There are three primary options for attaining an informatics nursing certification:

  1. RN-BC Certification:
    1. Application: online
    2. Eligibility: RN bachelor’s degree + 2 years of RN work, 30 hours of nursing informatics continuing education credits
    3. Format: 175 multiple-choice questions (150 scored)
    4. Price: $395 (may vary depending on membership)
  2. CAHIMS Certification:
    1. Application: online
    2. Eligibility: High school diploma + 45 hours of healthcare IT, digital health, or nursing informatics
    3. Format: 115 multiple-choice questions (100 scored)
    4. Price: $315 (may vary depending on membership)
  3. CPHIMS Certification:
    1. Application: online
    2. Eligibility: Bachelor’s degree + 5 years of information and management systems experience OR Masters degree + 3 years of information and management systems experience OR 10 years of information and management systems experience AND 45 hours of nursing informatics continuing education credits
    3. Format: 115 multiple-choice questions (100 scored)
    4. Price: $525 (may vary depending on membership)

Nursing Informatics Salary

According to PayScale, the average nursing informatics specialist salary in 2020 is $84,693 annually. This is about $10,000 more annually than the average RN salary due to the additional certification requirements and liabilities. It is important to note that salary can be affected by a variety of things such as where you are located, the type of establishment you work in (hospital, nursing home, etc.), your employer, your experience, and your education.

Nursing Informatics Job Outlook

According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), nursing informatics is a career on the rise. The article goes on to say that the AMIA estimates that 70,000+ health information specialists will be necessary within the next few years.

Nursing Informatics Organizations

There are specific organizations designed to help current and future nursing informaticists. Some examples of the organizations dedicated to nursing informatics include:

quick RN guide links