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Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). “Smart” IV pumps. Prescription barcoding. The IT industry has transformed how today’s healthcare industry interacts with, plans, and manages patient care. To meet the growing need for RNs who have advanced their knowledge and skills to include expertise in computer science and information science, a hybrid career called nursing informatics has emerged.
Nursing informatics specialists design, develop, implement, and evaluate health information systems to deliver and coordinate care across multiple settings. A majority work in hospitals and healthcare facilities, but the field is expanding rapidly, and the demand is growing in academic institutions, government agencies, managed care facilities, and insurance companies. This has created fierce competition for career-focused nurses with hybrid skills and relevant credentials.
With opportunities ripe for advancement throughout the healthcare industry, most nursing informatics specialists pursue a post-graduate degree, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). If you're ready to take your nursing career in an exciting new direction, concentrate on mastering your knowledge of relevant topics, including data science and analytics, informatics system analysis and design, and applied healthcare statistics.
The field of nursing informatics is wide open, and employers nationwide are looking to fill key roles and positions of responsibility with RNs who have made the career decision to elevate their knowledge and skills. If you have what it takes to integrate your nursing qualifications with multiple information management and analytical science skills, you'll be in a strong position to make what can be a highly satisfying career move.
Positions in the field.
“I became a nurse and a mom within the same year at the age of 23. I thought about getting my master’s but thought I didn't have time. I found WGU and thought, ‘Maybe this will work.’ I've been able to not only get my master's degree, but also build a foundation that will make it a little bit easier for me to go back for my nurse practitioner’s license." Jennifer Evans
MSN – Leadership and Management, 2015
Nursing informatics has evolved to become an integral part of our healthcare system, and it’s having an impact on the job market. For registered nurses, employment is projected to grow 15 percent by 2026 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Factor into that the growing importance placed upon reining in healthcare costs while shaping decisions that improve patient outcomes, and the demand for career-focused informatics nurse specialists can be expected to rise even higher.
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Nursing informatics specialists work in a broad range of environments, from hospitals and physicians’ offices to nursing and residential care facilities. On the non-clinical side, you might also direct your next career move toward government agencies or a more corporate setting, such as an insurance company. Regardless of where you choose to advance your nursing career, you'll be responsible for the daily management and analysis of information that can lead to a more efficient healthcare system that concurrently promotes and supports improved patient outcomes.
There are many organizations that can help you prepare for a future in nursing informatics. Check out these links to learn more about this exciting field and how advanced education and training can help you prepare for your next career move.
The nationwide search is on for registered nurses with specialized skills in nursing informatics. Take the pulse of the marketplace in your area; then make plans to update your professional credentials through a CCNE-accredited master's degree program.
The median annual wage for registered nurses was $70,000 in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Factor in the specialized skills of nurse informatics specialists surveyed by HIMSS, and compensation rises dramatically. Respondents who held a certification in nursing informatics tended to have a higher salary than those without certification; more than half (55 percent) of those with certification make more than $100,000 a year, compared with 37 percent of those without certification. Clearly, specialized knowledge and skills can pay significant dividends for motivated nursing professionals ready to pursue a new direction in their careers.
With the healthcare industry booming, nursing professionals with hybridized knowledge and expertise in patient care and computer and information science are needed to analyze, interpret, and manage massive amounts of patient information. Nursing informatics is a field experiencing tremendous growth, offering a multitude of career opportunities for RNs seeking new challenges and opportunities for advancement. Whether you choose to work in a clinical setting or a corporate environment, a master's degree in nursing informatics from an accredited university can prepare you to be a difference-maker in your chosen area of expertise.
Ready to jump-start your career in nursing informatics? The next step could be earning your M.S. Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN). Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!
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