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Healthcare Careers Nursing Informatics Guide

What is nursing informatics?

Nursing informatics is a medical discipline that combines IT and clinical care, using data to support decisions about patient care and health systems. Nursing informatics focuses primarily on choosing, implementing, and training on new health software systems that are crucial for the success of a facility. This career is directly focused on bringing information technology and experience in medicine and patient care together for greater success.

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Nursing informatics job description.

Nursing informatics is a highly specialized role that focuses on many crucial tasks within healthcare. This nursing specialty helps registered nurses take their careers to a new level. Their focus on informatics allows them to help change the workflow and decisions in nursing. Medical and clinical policies are changed due to the findings of informatics nursing specialists. Their responsibilities include:

  • Data gathering and reporting. Nursing informatics focuses on understanding how to get healthcare data, evaluating that data, and finding ways to utilize that data to help make decisions and inform policies in their facility. Clinical nurses and other medical professionals benefit from understanding what stories healthcare data is telling.
  • Software system integration. Nursing informaticists are charged with evaluating a current system, researching new options, implementing new programs, and training teams on how to use the new software for clinical use. Informatics professionals work with registered nurses and other medical professionals to show them the path forward in utilizing software in a positive way.
  • Meeting with IT experts. Nursing informaticists work with other IT experts to find the best applications for their specific facility. These informatics nurses need to work in tandem with the IT pros to understand how their clinical facility is impacted by software systems and programs.
  • Policy and compliance regulation. Nursing informaticists also have responsibility to understand compliance and regulation within the health IT field. They assist in the development and implementation of policy, and ensure that compliance is met with federal laws and standards. They train nursing staff and medical professionals on the rules and regulations to ensure the workflows are solid.
A young nurse looks at a clipboard with a doctor.

How much does a nurse informaticist make?

Your job title, education, and location will play a large role in your salary level for nursing informatics. The average annual salary for nursing informatics positions is about $65,000 per year, but many of these nursing professionals report earning a salary of more than $100,000 per year. Many nursing informaticists have specific specialties within their field that allow them to earn a higher salary. Experience with more robust IT systems can also lead to higher pay for these professionals.

A group of professionals examine DNA strands on a series of interconnected monitors.

Job titles in nursing informatics.

Nursing informatics is a relatively new and rapidly growing profession. These nurse professionals can work in a wide variety of settings, like hospitals, clinics, health systems, research groups, academic settings, IT corporations, healthcare consulting firms, or even government organizations. Because nursing informatics focuses on delivering data, research and analysis are key elements of this role, and that information is needed in a wide variety of clinical and other settings. 

Because of the diversity of work environments, there are also a wide variety of job titles you can pursue in nursing informatics, including:

  • Nurse informaticist
  • Developer of communication and information technology
  • Nurse educator
  • Nurse researcher
  • Chief nursing officer
  • Chief information officer
  • Nursing software administrator 
  • Implementation nurse consultant
  • Nursing policy developer
  • Healthcare business owner
Image of a tablet with medical information on the screen.

How can I get started in nursing informatics?

If you want to get started in nursing informatics, there are several important educational requirements you'll need to meet.

  • Become a registered nurse (RN). This is a vital first step because you'll need to be a nurse and have experience before you can move into a position to understand the data well. Knowledge and experience in nursing as an RN will help you be prepared to talk about data in valuable ways, help inform decisions, and more.
  • Earn a BSN. You can either earn your BSN prior to becoming an RN, or after you've started work as a nurse. This BSN is crucial because you'll need that credential to prepare to move forward in informatics. 
  • Earn an MSN. In order to be qualified to become a nursing informaticist, you'll need an MSN degree. This degree program will help give you additional insight and information so you can understand how to properly manipulate healthcare data for your career. This credential is vital to showing that you are qualified for an informatics position.
  • Earn certifications. Certifications like the NAHQ (National Association for Healthcare Quality) HQ Principles certification are extremely valuable in showing you are a competitive candidate for nursing informatics jobs. Similarly, IT certifications can show additional training in software systems and programs that are important for data warping and analysis. 

Earn your BSN and MSN in one bridge program.

If you're currently a registered nurse but don't have a bachelor's degree, there are program offerings that will help you be prepared to earn both your BSN and MSN at the same time. WGU's RN to MSN bridge program allows you to do your BSN and MSN coursework and move through the programs more quickly—helping you graduate with both a BSN and MSN. Becoming a nurse informaticist means earning a master's degree—but don't be discouraged if you don't have a bachelor's degree. If you're a current RN ready to become a nurse informaticist this bridge program could help you earn two degrees and move into an exciting new career.

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Nursing informatics career outlook.

Opportunities for medical records and health information technicians are expected to grow 8% by 2028. This is likely a similar outlook for nurse informatics positions. As healthcare technology grows and changes, nursing informatics specialists will increasingly be needed to help drive policies and decisions about data. 

Earn your nursing education degree.

Get started on the path to becoming a nurse educator by earning your MSN today.

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