Nursing informatics (NI) is a specialty that combines Information Technology with clinical practice and is one of the fastest growing areas of opportunity in nursing. Nurse Informaticists are members of a larger community making up the Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) industry. Professionals in this field utilize advancing technologies to improve management of the vast amounts of data related to caring for our patients. Nurses bring their unique knowledge of clinical workflow, human behavior, and history of patient advocacy to ensure clinicians have a voice in the industry and are involved in all phases working to help design, develop, implement, test, and maintain the systems.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) release the Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice in 2008 stating, “Nursing informatics (NI) is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. NI supports consumers, patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision- making in all roles and settings. This support is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology.”
Nurses looking into informatics roles and education should be careful not to confuse HIT with Health Information Management (HIM) which was previously referred to as Medical Records.
How to Become a Nurse Informaticist
Though there are some degrees out there to help a nurse get into the informatics specialization, most Nurse Informaticists (Clinical Informaticists) migrate into the specialty by finding they have an aptitude to work with computer and technology while using these tools in patient care. There are certifications at the Baccalaureate level and Master’s Degrees in Nursing Informatics are becoming more prevalent.
Board certification by the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) is available in Nursing Informatics (http://www.nursecredentialing.org/InformaticsNursing)
The demand for Informaticists has grown steadily over the past few years getting boosts from the HITECH Act of 2009 and the PPACA passed in 2010.
Where Nurse Informaticists are employed
Nurse Informaticists can be found employed by Healthcare providers (such as hospitals, group practices, home health agencies, etc.), product vendors, or consulting firms.
Salaries for Nurse Informaticists
In a survey by the Health Information Management Society (HIMSS) conducted in early 2014 the average annual salary was $100,717 with the median at $93,000 (2014 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey | HIMSS http://www.himss.org/ni-workforce-survey).
More information on Nursing Informatics can be found at the following
American Nursing Informatics Association at http://www.ania.org/
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) - Nursing Informatics at http://www.himss.org/library/nursing-informatics/
Alliance for Nursing Informatics at http://www.allianceni.org/
Online Journal of Nursing Informatics at http://www.ojni.org/
American Nurses Association (ANS) Health IT Initiatives at