Nursing is a noble profession that attracts individuals who care about helping others. It is a career path with many options, making it even more attractive. With the nursing field constantly evolving, there are unique opportunities to capitalize on your skills while fulfilling your desire to become a nurse. One such option is nursing informatics. This nursing career combines nursing, computer, and information sciences into one exciting occupation. If you love using technology while helping to improve patient outcomes, a job as an informatics nurse may be an excellent choice.
In this post we will explore the following:
- Why is nursing informatics important to healthcare?
- What kind of skills do informatics nurses need?
- How do you become an informatics nurse?
- Is there an informatics nurse certification?
- What are the job and salary outlooks?
Why is nursing informatics important in healthcare?
Think about the last time you went to see a healthcare professional. What is one of the first things you did before receiving care? You discussed your medical history and other relevant information so healthcare professionals could safely treat you.
Healthcare providers maintain significant amounts of data on their patients. From medication lists and lab results to healthcare team notes relating to treatment. All that information helps improve patient care outcomes. Sometimes patients forget to share vital information like all their current prescriptions or recent illnesses or injuries. This can impact any current treatment they receive. Healthcare practitioners must ensure they are not prescribing medications that can cause adverse reactions, or recommend surgeries when patients have pre-existing conditions that would make it too dangerous.
Nursing informatics plays a critical role in the continuous development and improvement of healthcare technology. Informatics nurses develop and improve technology for medical record-keeping to avoid patient care delays, reduce healthcare costs, and prevent medical errors.
Before nursing informatics, healthcare providers recorded everything by hand. This opened the door for errors in patient care. Now, everything is entered into a digital format using specialized computer software. Healthcare providers have accurate information that is available with the stroke of a few computer keys.
What kind of skills do informatics nurses need?
Compassion is always the top skill for any nurse. Whether you choose to work in a fast-paced environment like the emergency room or work with pediatric oncology patients, empathy is a must-have skill. To succeed in health informatics, you will require the following five proficiencies.
- Communication skills are vital because you must be able to clearly explain your work to other healthcare professionals and individuals outside the profession. Since data analysis is a huge part of your job, you must have the ability to break down this information into digestible pieces others can understand.
- Data systems understanding is crucial to doing the job. Since information technology applications are rapidly evolving, you must be dedicated to ongoing professional development to ensure you follow best practices.
- Interpersonal skills help you collaborate with other healthcare professionals, learn flexibility in your role, and resolve conflicts when they arise.
- Problem-solving abilities are a must-have for nursing informatics. You can expect challenges from clinical issues and technical difficulties in this role.
- Programming knowledge is not a requirement for every nurse informatics position, but it does make you a more attractive candidate. Find the most in-demand programming languages.
How do you become an informatics nurse?
Nursing candidates do not need an advanced nursing degree to work in nursing informatics, but they are recommended. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program can increase your value and make you more attractive to healthcare informatics employers. You can expect to take a variety of courses that cover basic nursing knowledge. You will also complete clinical rotations. Additional courses in technology and computer programming also are part of most nurse informatics degree programs.
Once you complete your degree program, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam tests your knowledge of nursing. Nursing candidates who pass will earn their RN licensure. If you wish to enter the workforce at this point, there will be plenty of nursing jobs from which to choose. You also can opt to continue your education to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in informatics. Some of the courses you will take include data management, health ethics and laws, and health information systems.
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Is there an Informatics nurse certification?
Some nursing informatics positions require candidates to hold an RN-BC Informatics Nurse Certification. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers this certification program for informatics nurses. To qualify to sit for the certification exam, nurses must meet the following criteria:
- Hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Gain between 1,000 and 2,000 hours of informatics nursing experience
- Finish 30 hours of continuing education in informatics within 3 years of the testing date
- Complete two years of experience as a full-time RN
Credentials remain valid for five years from the date of issuance. Nurses are encouraged to keep up with their continuing education credits to make renewing their credentials easier.
What are the job and salary outlooks for nurses?
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a 9% increase in job growth for nursing informatics between now and 2028. A projected 70,000 nursing informatics specialists and analysts are needed by 2025. Demand helps drive the average annual salary for informatics nurses, which is currently $84,273, according to PayScale.com.
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