Career Spotlight: Nursing Informatics Specialist
Nursing is the United States’ largest health care profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. One reason nursing is such a popular profession is because there are so many fields to go into. Nurses can be found working at private practices, in acute care, in public health agencies, in nursing homes, in schools, and more. When people think of nurses, most think of people working in a hospital caring for the sick or the nurse you see once a year at your annual physical; however, there are many other options for nurses, including nursing informatics specialists.
Nursing informatics combines the need for patient care with the insights of health informatics and technology. While this role is still relatively new, it is a fast-growing field. According to the American Nurses Association, a nursing informatics specialist oversees the integration of data, information, and knowledge to support decision-making by patients and their health care providers. They help to create, develop, and implement health care technologies to deliver the best and most efficient health care services to patients. As a nurse informatics specialist, they have a different and invaluable view than that of software and technology developers. They understand what nurses need to do their jobs effectively and accurately and which information is important to patients and other health care providers—all while also understanding the technology side.
Roles and Responsibilities
Nursing informatics is a high-level technical role, where each day you will use data and technology to monitor programs, systems, and different patient-care initiatives. While the role will vary based on the position, job level, and organization, below are some of the general duties you will find across the field.
• Implement, optimize, and use systems
• Train nurses and other health-care staff on new systems
• Act as a bridge between nursing and information technology departments
• Analyze data to ensure systems are working properly
• Educate other health-care professionals on how technology can improve patient-care outcomes
• Research the latest systems and give suggestions for new tools
A nursing informatics specialist is not your typical nursing job, but it plays a critical role in patient care. It is important to note that as a nursing informatics specialist, you are not likely to provide hands-on patient care. You might not report to the nursing department, and you are likely to not have anyone reporting to you. While most nursing jobs have no option to work from home, with this role you can. According to the HIMSS survey gathered in 2020, 45 percent of nurse informaticists work remotely.
What Are the Education Requirements?
At the very least, you will need a bachelor’s degree to work as a nurse informatics specialist. It is recommended and most jobs require a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At Excelsior College, you can earn your bachelor’s in nursing fully online, which allows you to continue to work full-time and spend time with your family and friends. It is important to note that a lot of jobs also require a master’s degree. According to the HIMSS survey, 66 percent of nurse informatics specialists have a master’s-level degree. Even more so, 27 percent reported they had a master’s specifically in nursing informatics. A master’s will put you ahead of the game in this career field, and allow you to move into leadership roles.
Excelsior College has many nursing degrees to choose from, including a master’s degree in nursing informatics. This degree will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to make an impact in patient care, safety, and operational effectiveness. Check out the expert faculty, course catalog, career outcomes, and more on the website.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to payscale.com, nursing informatics specialists earn $85,714 on average annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this field is projected to grow by 8 percent by 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for informatics specialists is much higher than the number of people qualified for the position.
Now more than ever, nursing informatics specialists are critical to the success of health care and the battle with COVID-19. Bonny Kehm, faculty program director of the MS in nursing program at Excelsior says, “Nursing informatics focuses on use of data-driven information, technology, and communication in the delivery of health care. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has led to a surge in the need for logistical coordination and communication. Informatics will facilitate speedy coordination in vaccine distribution and administration to millions of Americans to help gain control of the deadly virus. The use of informatics by highly trained nurses has never been more important or vital, especially as distribution and administration of the vaccines is stalled. We have developed the tools to fight this virus. We must now quickly develop the personnel and tactics to take up the fight. That starts with nurses trained in the use of informatics and analytics. Armed with data and logistics training, nurse informaticists are vital to the future success of the COVID-19 vaccination plan, distribution, and administration.”
Earning your degree in nursing informatics will set you up for a long and successful career in health care.