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Nursing Informatics - Careers for Nurse Informaticists

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What is Nursing Informatics? Brief Overview:

Nursing informatics is the marriage of clinical nursing with healthcare IT (information technology). Nursing informatics involves the implementation of electronic medical records (EMR), and other technological support systems for clinical care. Nursing informaticists serve as liaisons between the healthcare IT professionals and the clinical care team of a healthcare facility. They help to determine the needs of the clinical workforce with respect to health IT. Additionally, nurse informaticists may help train clinical staff on electronic documentation systems or other IT applications, and establish best practices for health IT, and manage the minimum standards for IT among the nursing staff.

Who Should Work in Nursing Informatics? A Few Types of People:

Ideally, nursing informaticists should have a strong clinical nursing background plus some education or equivalent experience in healthcare IT. There are a number of college programs offering certificates, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in medical informatics, also called health informatics.

The clinical experience is important so that the nurse informaticist can understand how the IT application will be utilized by the clinical staff, and help with troubleshooting, training, and other functions. Many jobs require an RN, but some jobs may be available to other types of nurses such as LVNs, LPNs, CNAs, or MAs.

Career Paths for Nursing Informaticists:

Larger healthcare facilities may employ teams of nursing informaticists at various levels of responsibility. This team would report up through the CNIO - Chief Nursing Information Officer, or similar role. Smaller facilities or medical offices may only employ one nursing informaticist. Additionally, some nurse informaticists may work on a consultant basis, contracting their time with multiple facilities as needed for major projects or implementations.

Roles in nursing informatics may include nurse educators, nurse specialists, and nurse managers in informatics.

Average Salary for Nursing Informaticists:

According to Payscale.com, nursing informatics roles pay from $48,700 to $96,500 annually. The higher pay would be for those with advanced degrees, or with a high level of responsibility, such as the CNIO, including managing other staff members. The lower range would be for those nursing informaticists who are newer to the field, do not have as much related experience or education, and therefore are working at a staff level position.

Demand for Nursing Informatics:

In July of 2011, the HIMSS published a position statement declaring the critical need and strong demand for nursing informaticists of all levels and backgrounds. The report stated that the role of nursing informatics is critical to the successful implementation and ongoing utilization of electronic systems in clinical healthcare. Additionally, the growth in demand for healthcare IT professionals in all areas is creating additional demand for nursing informaticists as well.
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