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How to Become an Informatics Nurse

An in-depth look at the duties, responsibilities, schooling, requirements, certifications, job outlook, and salary expectations for today’s Informatics Nurses

Two healthcare professionals examining test results

In today’s digital world, Informatics Nurses play a unique and increasingly vital role within our healthcare system. While it’s true that direct patient care is not one of their primary responsibilities, their influence, presence, and contributions have a major impact on our nations’ hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Informatics Nurses help us evolve the practice of nursing, patient care, and healthcare administration by leveraging a host of digital applications and technologies. These include the use of electronic medical records and computerized provider order entry. They work with a variety of medical professionals across the field and serve to bridge the gap between the clinical and technical aspects of medicine. As with all nursing occupations, Informatics Nurses are singularly focused on patient safety and well-being.

It’s a well-known fact that healthcare professionals must gather, maintain, and reference massive quantities of data from numerous sources, including patients, healthcare workers, and insurance carriers. An Informatics Nurse brings all this information together by integrating nursing care with a multiplicity of informational, analytical, and organizational sciences. This melding of disciplines requires organizational skills and IT proficiency, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the nursing profession, along with its numerous tasks and responsibilities.

Considered to be one of the top nursing careers, Informatics Nursing can be an extremely rewarding career choice for aspiring healthcare workers who possess an affinity for technology and organization. It’s a high paying job with a great deal of responsibility and a high level of job satisfaction.

(Click here to see our full list of the highest paying nursing jobs in America).

Continue reading to further explore the field of the Informatics Nursing. We will cover how to become an Informatics Nurse, as well as the specific duties, responsibilities, and salary* expectations for this important profession.

Informatics Nursing Defined

What Is an Informatics Nurse?

Nursing informatics combines nursing, IT, and information sciences to develop medical data systems to help nurses carry out their responsibilities in the safest and most efficient way possible.

All healthcare practitioners share the common goal of improving patient care outcomes. Informatics Nurses, however, focus on nothing else by constantly improving upon patient care systems through the use of data and technology.

Informatics Nursing is underscored by three foundational pillars. Those pillars are data, information, and knowledge. Their primary function is to develop or implement various information technologies within their facilities to improve communications between nurses, patients, and other healthcare administrators.

Informatics Nurses must also wear multiple hats as educators, researchers, software engineers, and (of course) as nurses. Finally, by combining data analysis with their healthcare knowledge and expertise, they can help develop evidence-based policies and procedures for various types of medical facilities and healthcare organizations.

Informatics Nurse: Job Description

What Does an Informatics Nurse Do?

Informatics nurses combine their skills in medical science and IT to help healthcare providers retrieve, store, and utilize large amounts of data as it applies to patient care. They find ways to improve upon and streamline several administrative processes, including documentation, patient data retrieval, and data accuracy, while using data analysis to improve the efficiency of various nursing care processes and procedures. To perform these functions, Informatics Nurses must work with almost every department within a hospital or medical facility, including nurses, physicians, administrators, and other healthcare staff.

Informatics Nursing: Day-to-Day Responsibilities

The day-to-day tasks of an Informatics Nurse may can include any of the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Using technology to sustain nursing work processes
  • Redesigning clinical workflow
  • Helping patients manage their own health through information systems
  • Analyzing clinical and financial data
  • Performing research based on clinical data and trials
  • Optimizing storage and analytical applications for research purposes
  • Ensuring technology is up to date and accessible to medical personnel
  • Delivering and standardizing nursing content
  • Assisting with change management
  • Promoting high-quality evidence-based care

Informatics Nursing Jobs

Where Do Informatics Nurses Work?

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Informatics nurses work in all types of healthcare environments, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, surgical centers, rehab services, and other types of medical facilities and organizations.

Since they offer an integral service that is highly necessary throughout the healthcare industry, many Informatics Nurses can choose their preferred working environment. Although they typically work in an office, many will spend equal amounts of time “out on the floor” to regularly interface with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

Informatics Nurse Schooling & Certification

What Training Is Required to Become an Informatics Nurse?

Because of the breadth of their many responsibilities, the path to becoming an Informatics Nurse requires a broader level education and work experience than many other healthcare occupations.

What Skills Does an Informatics Nurse Gain Through Schooling?

Informatic Nursing rests on an academic curriculum that leverages nursing education to better understand and analyze health data while implementing new technologies to improve upon nursing practices and procedures. In school, you learn about data best practices and how technology can impact patient outcomes. A Master’s degree in Nursing Informatics will focus in on the specific topics and issues encountered by informatics nurses. These include:

  • Healthcare policy
  • Healthcare advocacy
  • Healthcare leadership
  • Systems management
  • Nursing research
  • Project management
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Workflow and systems
  • Evaluating technological outcomes

Although many Informatics Nurses have developed their careers through on-the-job training, the ever-growing complexity of digital technology and information systems has increased the need for advanced degrees and certificates. Today, the path to becoming an Informatics Nurse can take up to 10 years if you have no prior nursing degree.

Let’s take a closer look at the necessary steps to becoming informatics nurse:

1. Earn Your BSN Degree

It all starts with earning an accredited nursing degree. Your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree combines the fundamentals of nursing theory with actual hands-on clinical practice to develop knowledge of different medical procedures.

2. Earn Your MSN Degree

Upon earning your bachelor’s degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to gain your RN license, you should pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. If possible, you should elect to specialize in Informatics while completing your master’s requirements.

(Click here to read our NCLEX-RN Exam Review & Study Guide).

3. Gain RN Nursing Experience

Depending on your chosen program of study, you may be required to complete a minimum of 130 to 150 clinical hours, a practicum, or an supervised internship. Some programs may even request letters of recommendation along with one or two years of work experience with relevance to health informatics.

Informatics Nurse Salary

How Much Do Informatics Nurses Make?

A clock next to stacks of coins

According to the Zip Recruiter, informatics nurses make an average salary* of about $102,000 per year (or about $49 per hour).

While Informatics Nurses who earn below the 25th percentile can make up to $71,000 annually, the top-paid Informatics Nurses can make up to $188,000 per year.

Of course, salaries in this field can drastically vary depending on multiple factors, including experience, employment-type, and location. Here are some of the top paying cities for informatics nurses:

City Average Hourly Wage Average Salary
San Jose, CA $60.71 $126,268
Oakland, CA $60.01 $124,815
Taniana, AK $59.73 $124,248
Wasilla, AK $59.73 $124,248
Hayward, CA $58.75 $122,201
Seattle, WA $58.35 $121,376
Concord, CA $58.21 $121,072
Sunnyvale, CA $57.88 $120,381
Santa Cruz, CA $57.21 $118,987
Seaside, CA $56.45 $117,413

Job Outlook for Informatics Nurses

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report a job outlook report specifically for Nurse Informaticists, they do project that employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations (4%).

Much of this growth will result from an increase in the demand for healthcare services and ever-advancing technology.

A Career as an Informatics Nurse

Are You Ready to Start Your Career as a Nurse Informaticist?

Healthcare professional

If you’re the type of individual who can juggle many responsibilities and feel as comfortable working with technology as you do with people, then a career in Informatics Nursing cold suit you well.

You can rise to the challenge and begin your career journey by earning your BSN degree at Eagle Gate College. Contact us to learn more.