Informatics nursing is a discipline within health informatics – the study of resources and methods for the management of health information. Health information applies information technology to the skills and work of nurses. Informatics nurses assist with the implementation of computer applications in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, pubic health clinics, and other health-care settings.
Informatics nursing involves analyzing and interpreting data regarding patients, nurses, and information systems to improve nursing services. Informatics nursing uses computer and information technology tools tools to design, develop, select, test, implement, and evaluate new or modified informatics solutions, data structures, and decision-support mechanisms. Informatics nursing also involves developing and delivering training programs for health information technology, and developing and implementing policies and practices to ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and security of patient information. The demand for informatics nurses is growing as a result of an increase in the amount of electronic data collected during nursing practices. Informatics nurses have the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce medical costs and create online teaching and patient care tools.
On average, informatics nursing salaries are $56,000 per year. Level of education, certification, experience, and location can affect salary significantly.
Informatic nurse specialists are RNs who specialize in identifying, collecting, processing and managing data and information in support of nursing practices, health care administration, education and research. This specialty attracts nurses who have a knack for technology, as they apply computer science and information technology to the field of nursing. Graduates of informatics nurse education programs may fill a variety of roles, including chief nursing information officer and information technology nursing advocate, among others. The demand for informatics nurses is growing as a result of an increase in the amount of electronic data collected during nursing practices. Informatics nurses have the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce medical costs and create online teaching and patient care tools.
Informatics nurse education programs are generally offered as a certification or graduate-level degree for working RNs. Alternatively, RNs with sufficient work experience (2,000 hours) in the field of informatics nursing can be eligible to sit for the certification exam. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) that administers the informatics nurse credentials (RN-BC) require candidates to meet the following criteria: (1) current and active RN license; (2) bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing (BSN or MSN); (3) two years of full-time work as an RN; (4) 30 hours of continuing education in informatics nursing within the last three years; and (4) a minimum clinical practice requirement of 200 hours for graduates of informatics nurse education programs. The clinical practice requirement can also be satisfied with a graduate degree and 2,000 hours of informatics nursing work experience or 1,000 hours of experience and 12 semesters of continuing education.
Curriculum and Core Classes
Informatics nurse education programs include coursework in clinical information systems, consumer health information, and include an informatics nurse practicum. Students working toward an MSN will also take courses in education and public health informatics and study research topics in nursing informatics. Different types of informatics focus on a specific types of information, such as consumer, education, public health or research. Certificate and degree informatics nurse education programs can be found at most universities that offer nursing degrees.
The ANCC does not require nurses to complete a certificate or graduate degree program for the informatics nurse credentials; however, candidates do need 30 hours of continuing education, and informatics nurse education programs will offer preparation to take the exam and satisfy the clinical practice hours requirement. Otherwise, RNs can work in the nursing informatics field for two years and be eligible to sit for the exam as long as they have logged 2,000 hours within the last three years. Because the field of nursing informatics is diverse, the preceptorship hours can be completed in any type of informatics nursing role.
In general, an informatics nurse education program can be completed in two years or less, following completion of a BSN and licensure as an RN. The two-year time period will consist of attending classes and working hands-on in a nursing informatics role; however, the ANCC eligibility requirement for the RN-BC credential is two years of full-time work as an RN in addition to specific education and practice requirements. The combination of education, practice and work requirements may extend the program length based on individual circumstances.
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Type of Certification: Registered Nurse – Board Certified (RN-BC)
Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must have a current active registered nurse license and either a Bachelor’s in Nursing or higher or a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. They must also have practiced for the equivalent of two full-time years as a registered nurse and have completed 30 hours of continuing education in informatics within the last three years. Additionally, candidates must meet one of the following practice requirements:
*2,000 hours in informatics nursing in the past three years;
*1,000 hours in informatics nursing in the past three years, plus 12 semester hours of academic credit in informatics as part of a graduate-level informatics program;
*Completion of a graduate program in nursing informatics which contains at least 200 hours of faculty-supervised practicums in informatics.
Certification Process: Apply online or by mail with the paper application. Within six weeks from submitting an application, candidates will receive either an Eligibility Notice or a letter requesting additional information. An Eligibility Notice will give candidates 90 days during which to schedule and take their exam.
Fees: $395 for non-members of American Nurses Assocation (ANA)
Renewal Process: Informatics nurse practitioner certification is valid for five years. The renewal fee is $350 for non-ANA members, and the application must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to expiration of the original certification. Applications can be submitted online or via the mail with a paper application.
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