Career Advice > Career Advice

What is Nursing Informatics?

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics represents the intersection between two of today's fastest-growing industries: healthcare and technology.

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics combines the use of data in healthcare information technology with the skills embodied by nursing to promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and the overall community.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines nursing informatics as a specialty that integrates nursing with information and analytical science to identify, define, manage, and communicate data in nursing practice.

Job titles they can hold include medical researcher, chief information officer, nurse educator, implementation consultants,  nurse informaticist, and many others.

According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), core areas of work include:

  • Concept representation and standards to support evidence-based practice, research, and education
  • Data and communication standards to build an interoperable 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 work flow needs across all care venues
  • Vision and management for the development, design, and implementation of communication and information technology
  • Definition of healthcare policy to advance the public’s health

While HIMSS says their responsibilities include:

  • Administration, leadership and management - either directly with clinical informatics departments or in combination with other functional areas such as serving as project managers
  • Analysis - using data to synthesize knowledge, inform decision support, and manage outcomes as well as taxonomies
  • Compliance and integrity management - helping make sure organizations are meeting all the national laws and standards such as HIPAA, FDA, Joint Commission, etc.
  • Consultation - serving both internally or externally as a resource
  • Coordination, facilitation, and integration - serving as the translator between end-users and IT experts
  • Development - translating user requirements into solutions
  • Education and professional development - ranges from teaching the end-user to use a device or application to educating the next generation of nurses and the general public
  • Policy development and advocacy - being an advocate for consumers, hospital units, and the institution as a whole; also helping shape policies and standards at the state, national and organizational level
  • Research and evaluation - conducting research in a variety of informatics topics that impacts both caregivers and consumers

Nurse informaticists are on the frontier of the intersection between nursing and data, working to advance the field through innovative ways of putting data to use and improving patient outcomes. A typical day revolves around acting as the bridge between the nursing staff and the IT department, ensuring that everyone stays on the same page as they work toward specific goal.

Nurse informaticists generally participate in the designing and implementation of healthcare technology systems used in public or private institutions and businesses. They are at least partly responsible for the continual upgrading and improvement of healthcare delivery systems.

Nurse Informaticist Job Outlook

The future is bright for nurse informatics as electronic medical records and other technological advances like wearable technology and robotics become more prolific throughout the industry in the coming decades.

The HIMSS's annual survey of nurse informaticists reports that 25% of respondents salaries ranged from $86,000 - $100,000 with 24% from $61,000 - $85,000. Almost half of respondents (46%) reported earning a salary of over $100,000! Other insights the survey provides include:'

  • 49% of respondents reported having a certification and 51% indicating that they would be pursuing one within a year.
  • 51% of respondents have over 7 years of experience in the field.
  • 58% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or highly satisfied with their current position.
  • 80% of respondents indicated that they were happy with nursing informatics as a career choice.
  • 64% of respondents indicated that they do not have a supervisory role and no individuals report to them.
  • 31% of respondents indicated that they work in systems implementation and optimization.

Is Nursing Informatics Right for You?

Are you the person your friends and family come to with their technology questions? Do you have a penchant for helping others? Do you have an interest in computing and advancing technology in a relatively new field? Nursing informatics may be the right career choice for you!

In order to thrive in this field, you need a passion for problem solving, a dedication to improving patient outcomes with your unique skillset, and resilience when you have to explain what a nurse informaticist is any time you're asked.

Those who put more emphasis on logic are typically a better fit for those in the IT fields as the inner-workings of computer systems heavily rely on the same types of decision-making structures. However, nursing informaticists must also interact with people of all walks of life on a regular basis and know the role of nurses in patient care.

It takes a specific type of person to perform the role. If you feel that you would be fine being either a nurse or a programmer, go ahead and put nursing informatics at the top of your list.