How to Become an Informatics Nurse: Job Outlook, Salary, Requirements

Nurse on computerInformatics nurses focus on discovering ways to improve information management and communications in nursing in ways that improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance patient care. The field of informatics nursing integrates nursing science, computer science and information science. Informatics nurses manage and communicate data, information and knowledge as it pertains to patient care.

An informatics nurse is sometimes known as a nurse informaticist, informatics nurse specialist, director of clinical informatics or clinical informatics coordinator.

Table of Contents
How to Become an Informatics Nurse
Education Requirements
Informatics Nurse Job Description
Sample Job Description
Personality Traits
Informatics Nursing on YouTube
Career Options
National Salary Snapshot
Informatics Nurse Certification
Cost of Certification
Career Path
Professional Organizations
Relevant Publications
Related Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide jobs information specific to the field of informatics nurses but the website does offer an overview of registered nurses.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

Quickly compare salary and job statistics in your area

1. Select a State

2. Select a City

3. Select a Job Title

Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $83,675
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov
Salary information courtesy of ExploreHealthCareers.org http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/91/Nursing_Informatics

How to become an informatics nurse

To become an informatics nurse, a candidate:

  • Must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • May pursue additional education in computer science or information science
  • May pursue voluntary certification from American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Education requirements

To work as an informatics nurse, a person must obtain a degree as an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The candidate must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). RNs interested in working in informatics may take advanced courses in computer science and information science.

Job description

Documentation is the primary function of the informatics nurse. Few informatics nurses perform patient care. Most nurses in this capacity work on developing, improving, testing or training nurses and other staff to use new information systems. Even though most informatics nurses have little contact with patients, most start by working as registered nurses providing direct patient care. It is important for informatics nurses to understand the complexities of patient care so they can design systems that solve patient care problems.

An informatics nurse designs, develops, selects, tests, implements and evaluates new, modified or existing informatics and data in a way that supports patients, healthcare professionals and information management teams. This nurse analyzes and interprets data extracted from patient, nursing and information systems to improve nursing care. An informatics nurse applies specialized knowledge of computer science, information science, nursing and informatics theory to optimize patient care and ensure the privacy, confidentiality and security of a patient. Additionally, the nurse identifies, collects, records and analyzes data relevant to the nursing care of patients.

Informatics nurses also translate information to improve understanding between nurses and systems engineers, analysts or designers. They also develop strategies, hospital or clinic policies and procedures to introduce, evaluate or modify information technology as it pertains to nursing.

Sample job description

Sample job descriptions and qualifications are sourced from various job board websites, like these: careerbuilder.com, indeed.com.

  • Responsible for the management of quality information from multiple sources, including electronic medical records
  • Develops and analyzes all clinical quality reports, from individual provider to practices to groups of practices
  • Manages quality bonus programs as needed

Qualifications:

  • Active RN license
  • Experience and strong interest in database management
  • Master’s degree in informatics preferred

Personality traits:

  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Critical thinking skills

The reporting structure for informatics nurses varies between institutions. In some institutions, informatics nurses report to the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO). Other healthcare facilities require the informatics nurse to report to the education department.

Informatics nursing on YouTube

Career options

Typical workplaces for an informatics nurse include:

  • Hospitals
  • Other healthcare facilities
  • Universities
  • Consulting firms
  • Corporations that develop and market healthcare information systems

The number of informatics nurse jobs will likely rise as the aging U.S. population seeks medical care, generating new medical information that requires management.

National salary snapshot

Indeed lists the salary for nurse educators as $65,000, while SimplyHired posts the average yearly pay at $56,000 for the position.

Certification information

A registered nurse may pursue advanced training and board certification in nursing informatics from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). An informatics nurse may also become a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information Management Systems (CPHIMS) or a Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT).

To receive credentialing from ANCC, the candidate must hold a current and active RN license, and have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher or a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. The candidate must have practiced as an RN for two years full-time or its part-time equivalent, and have completed 30 hours of continuing education in informatics nursing within the previous three years. To be eligible for certification, the candidate must have practiced a minimum of 2,000 hours in informatics nursing within the last three years or practiced at least 1,000 hours and completed a minimum of 12 semester hours in informatics courses. Completing a graduate program in informatics nursing that contains a minimum of 200 hours practicum in informatics nursing is also acceptable for certification.

Certifications must be renewed every five years.

Cost of certification

Credential: CNE

Fees for Non-Members:

Initial Exam: $500

Recertification: $500

Fees for Members:

Initial Exam: $400

Recertification: $400

Typical career path

The typical career path to becoming a nurse educator is to:

  • Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Work as an RN, gaining clinical experience in a specialty of interest
  • Earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) (optional)

Pass the Certified Nurse Educator Examination from a professional organization like the National League of Nursing.

Professional organizations

American Medical Informatics Association: http://www.amia.org/

American Nursing Informatics Association: https://www.ania.org/

Relevant publications

Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI)

Nursing Informatics Today

Computers Informatics Nursing

Related careers

Nurse researchers – study various aspects of health, illness and healthcare

Quality improvement nurse – uses information to improve quality of patient care and safety