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Are you a nurse who enjoys working with technology, problem solving and project management? Would you like to be a vital part of developing information systems that can support the overall healthcare team and enhance the quality of patient care?
Then nursing informatics may be the career path for you. As described by the American Nurses Association (ANA), nursing informatics is a “specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.”
When you think of nursing informatics, electronic health records (EHRs) might come to mind. But this nursing specialty goes beyond that.
“Nursing informatics involves project management within an organization to integrate health information systems into the care and support of patients, staff, physicians and nurses,” explained Robin Kirschner, EdD, DNP, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, dean of Chamberlain University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Specialty Tracks, including Nursing Informatics. “It can also encompass leading interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams to leverage technology and data for more efficient, patient-centered healthcare services delivery. It truly is more than just sitting in front a computer and analyzing data.”
If this piques your interest, keep reading for more reasons to consider a career in nursing informatics:
1. Join an expansive information technology-based field.
“Nursing informatics is a field filled with so many exciting career opportunities beyond just the hospital environment,” said Dr. Kirschner.
A career in nursing informatics can cover a wide range of roles from within the clinical, research and academic settings to public health organizations, medical software businesses and pharmaceutical companies. Positions can include, but are not limited to*:
• Application/Systems Analyst
• Clinical Informatics Analyst
• Clinical Informatics Project Coordinator/Manager
• Clinical/Systems Team Manager
• Director of Nursing Informatics/Information Systems
• Global Health Positions (e.g. World Health Organization)
• Health Outcomes Analytics Manager
• Informatics Technology Clinical Nurse
• Nursing Informatics Specialist
*Some careers may require several years of experience in addition to educational credentials.
2. Contribute to better data for better patient care.
You can use your clinical background in treating patients, experience with using EHRs and familiarity with workflows to help IT specialists better understand how patient care is delivered and documented. Having worked by the bedside, you have the valuable insight on what information is needed to serve patients safely and effectively, and how to make technology more intuitive to use.
According to the 2015 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey, 60 percent of respondents said that informatics nurses have a “high impact” on the quality of care that patients receive at their organizations, in addition to bringing a “high degree of value” to workflow (80 percent of respondents) and patient safety (76 percent).
Furthermore, a 2017 Internet Trends Report revealed that healthcare “is at a digital inflection point.” The average hospital holds 50 petabytes of healthcare data, and the total amount of that data is growing by 48 percent a year, quantified the report.
With the immense amount of healthcare data available from different sources (e.g., EHRs, telehealth, mobile and tracking applications, etc.) and departments, you can be the bridge that connects clinical practice with IT in the development of new and enhanced information systems that can deliver this complex information more efficiently to improve patient care.
3. Serve a critical role in the healthcare team.
“As an informatics nurse, you can play an important part of the healthcare team by supporting the development and integration of information technology applications into the daily workflows across all clinical disciplines,” said Dr. Kirschner.
Responsibilities can include, but are not limited to:
• Serving as a project manager and liaison between staff and IT experts
• Assessing and analyzing the healthcare team’s technology needs
• Designing and testing information systems before implementation
• Implementing, evaluating and optimizing the systems
• Educating staff in the transition to new systems
• Developing organizational policies and standards
Nursing informatics is a dynamic field where your contributions can help transform healthcare. Interested in learning more about Chamberlain University’s MSN Nursing Informatics specialty track? Request more information here.