By Josephine Reid
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. NI supports nurses, consumers, patients, the interprofessional healthcare team, and other stakeholders in their decision-making in all roles and settings to achieve desired outcomes. This support happens through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology.
To enter the field of health informatics, nurses typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing and experience working with electronic healthcare records. However, the job is so specialized and focused that many employers prefer job applicants who have earned a Master’s degree in Health Informatics, Healthcare Management or Quality Management. Nurses who attain a degree in nursing administration with an emphasis on health informatics may also qualify for many jobs.
Expectations in a career in nursing informatics include:
- Concept representation and standards to support evidence-based practice, research, and education
- Data and communication standards to build an inter-operable national data infrastructure
- Research methodologies to disseminate new knowledge into practice
- Information presentation and retrieval approaches to support safe patient-centered care
- Information and communication technologies to address inter-professional workflow needs across all care venues
- Vision and management for the development, design, and implementation of communication and information technology
Nurse informaticists work in vast areas including health systems, business and industry, and academia. As leaders in the field of health informatics, nurse informaticists work as chief nursing informatics officers, clinical analysts, informatics nurse specialists and nurse data scientists.
The average salary for a nurse informaticist was $100,717 in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
Their scope of practice may include participation in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health records in health system organizations. They play a vital role in the application of information systems in analyzing and researching clinical and administrative performance analytics. And they assist in the integration of information technology into the workflow of nurses.