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Nursing Informatics Job: Is it Right for You?

Career News October 10, 2013

What are nursing informatics jobs?

Nursing informatics jobs are the result of a fairly new specialty that has been driven due to advances in technology. Health care providers, including physicians, hospitals, home care organizations and pharmacies, are converting their paper files to Electronic Health Records (EHR). Insurers digitalize their documents. Nursing care plans and patient charting are now computerized.

All these computer records can be accessed by any authorized user in real time. The nursing informatics specialist manages these documents, coordinates their use and integrates computer technology into a way that increases the quality of nursing practice in general.

The job requires detailed skills in both technology and patient care. Basic nursing skills are needed to integrate clinical analysis with computerized data collection and interpretation.

Informatics nursing jobs are available in any health care setting from a doctor’s office to the hospital. A nurse in this specialty often has no actual patient contact. The job focuses more on researching, managing and analyzing information than in patient contact.

The job entails assimilating the available online patient data and organizing it so it can be readily accessed and used by the health care providers. The nurse needs to be sure that the information is in the best possible form for utilization, by health care providers, all the while making certain that patient privacy laws are complied.

Duties of those with nursing informatics jobs

•The specific daily duties vary depending on the facility that employs the nurse, but all nursing informatics specialists are involved in educating other health care professionals on how to use technology to improve patient care. They act as technical support when needed.

•Nursing informatics specialists coordinate with all other health care disciplines. In a hospital setting, they coordinate discharge planning and are in charge of managing all nursing education relevant to technology and its utilization. They coordinate all health care information relevant to nursing care.

• In essence, according to Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), all nursing informatics specialists coordinate, educate, facilitate, research and evaluate all information relevant to patient health care decisions in general and nursing care in particular.

Pay scale for nursing informatics jobs

The Salary for a nursing informatics specialist varies depending on the geographical location. The lowest pay for this specialty is in the state of Illinois where the average annual salary is $51,273. The highest pay is found in Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $103,875.

Board Certification for Nursing Informatics Specialists

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has recognized nursing informatics as a specialty since 1992. Although it is not necessary to be certified in nursing informatics in order to obtain employment in that field, certification increases job opportunities, responsibilities and pay level.

In order to become certified, a registered nurse needs to take and pass the Nursing Informatics Certification Test administered by the ANA. In order to be eligible to take the test, in addition to being a registered nurse with an active license, the applicant must meet all the following criteria:

•Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a relevant field.
•Have two years full-time experience as a registered nurse.
•Have completed 30 continuing education hours in nursing informatics no longer than three years prior to taking the test.
•Meet certain minimum hours of nursing informatics nursing practice.
•Complete a graduate program in nursing informatics with at least 200 hours of supervised practice.

Job outlook

Medicare health care providers are required to have all medical records converted to EHR by 2015. Technological advances continue, and all health care providers, including pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities and physical therapists, are striving to convert paper files to EHR a soon as possible. Remote monitoring of patients with doctors providing medical care to home-bound patients by means of technology is increasing.

All these changes increase the need for nursing informatics specialists, The Board of Labor Statistics and HIMSS both project a shortage of nurses in this specialty field, making the job prospects for the future very good.

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