As technology evolves, health care has the opportunity to improve patient care. Nurses are well-positioned for integrating these advances.
“There is an increase in the use of technology such as mobile computers and wireless solutions, and automated exchanges between providers and patients," according to nurse continuing education leader RN.com. “Adapting to these new environments requires a paradigm shift for how care is communicated and delivered, which requires knowledge of the evolution of new technologies. Nurses are at the center of this advancement as the professionals with the greatest amount of direct patient care."
Informatics Nurse: Job Description
The American Nurses Association defines nursing informatics as “a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice." An expanded definition from the American Medical Informatics Association calls nursing informatics the management of nursing information and knowledge, integrated with “technologies to promote the health of people, families and communities worldwide."
Some of the typical day-to-day responsibilities of an informatics nurse can include the following tasks:
- Use technology to sustain nursing work processes
- Redesign clinical workflow
- Help patients manage their own health through information systems
- Analyze clinical and financial data
- Perform research based on clinical data and trials
- Develop storage and analytic technology to help optimize data for research
- Keep technology up to date and accessible to medical personnel
- Deliver nursing content to standardized languages
- Assist with change management
- Encourage provision of high-quality, evidence-based care
Note: Informatics is a wide field and is used outside of nursing. Take a look at health informatics salaries and job descriptions.
Opportunities in Nursing Informatics
The job description of an informatics nurse can change based on the particular role and specialty of the professional. Here are several examples from RN.com.
- Integrity and compliance management
- Data integration
- Educational and professional development
- Policy development and advocacy
- Research and evaluation
- Systems integration
- Clinical application support
- Process and workflow design
- Clinical transformation
- Information technology security
- Clinical champion
- User training
Three common areas of opportunity for informatics nurses include leadership, education and practice. Many nurses, whether or not they specialize in these areas, can assume these responsibilities and develop within them.
- Leadership includes leading technological changes that promote health and health care delivery, supporting the development of informatics departments and fostering the development of the chief nursing informatics officer role.
- Education includes how informatics nurses can transform the field to integrate informatics competencies and behaviors at all levels of academic preparation, and promotion of continuing education at all levels of nursing, particularly in the areas of health IT and electronic health records.
- Practice includes incorporating informatics competencies into practice standards, and facilitating the collection and analysis of health care workforce data by collecting from existing health IT systems.
How to Become an Informatics Nurse
Informatics is a nursing specialty that requires well-rounded experience and education. A bachelor's degree is generally considered the minimum requirement for these positions. However, a master's degree is often preferred and can offer opportunities to advance in the specialty. Obtaining certification in informatics nursing can also be helpful.
The online Master of Science in Health Informatics from the University of Findlay provides nurses and other healthcare professionals with the expertise they need to excel in this exciting field. The program was ranked one of the top online programs in the nation by OnlineColleges.net and offers students the opportunity for hands-on experience before graduation.