African-American nurse using a computer

How to Become an Informatics Nurse

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

African-American nurse using a computer

Informatics Nurses play a unique and increasingly vital role in today’s digital world 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 significant impact on hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Informatics Nurses 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 focus 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 various informational, analytical, and organizational sciences. This melding of disciplines requires organizational skills, IT proficiency, a comprehensive knowledge of the nursing profession, and 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 with an affinity for technology and organization. It’s a high-paying job with a great deal of responsibility and high job satisfaction.

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

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

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

Three foundational pillars underscore Informatics Nursing. 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) 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 medical science and IT skills to help healthcare providers retrieve, store, and utilize large amounts of data as it applies to patient care. In addition, they find ways to improve 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 hospital or medical facility department, including nurses, physicians, administrators, and other healthcare staff.

Informatics Nursing: Day-to-Day Responsibilities

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

  • Using technology to sustain nursing work processes
  • Redesigning clinical workflow
  • Helping patients manage their 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

Nurse holding a nursing informatics sign

Informatics Nursing Jobs

Where Do Informatics Nurses Work?

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

Since they offer an essential service needed 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 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 nursing practices and procedures. You learn about data best practices and how technology can impact patient outcomes in school. A master’s degree in nursing informatics will focus 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 ten 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 a supervised internship. Some programs may request letters of recommendation and one or two years of work experience relevant to health informatics.

Female healthcare worker writing on a chart

Informatics Nurse Salary

How Much Do Informatics Nurses Make?

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 in the 25th percentile can make up to $79,500 annually, the top-paid Informatics Nurses can make up to $185,500 annually.

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 $59.93 $124,656
Oakland, CA $59.27 $123,277
Hayward, CA $58.10 $120,856
Seattle, WA $57.94 $120,507
Barnstable Town, MA $57.18 $118,944
Concord, CA $57.12 $118,816
Sunnyvale, CA $57.11 $118,787
Wasilla, AK $56.66 $117,856
Seaside, CA $56.00 $116,484
Antioch, CA $55.60 $115,648

Job Outlook for Informatics Nurses

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report a job outlook report specifically for Informatics Nurses, they do project that employment of Health Information Technologists is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations (8%).

Much of this growth will result from increased demand for healthcare services and ever-advancing technology.

A Career as an Informatics Nurse

Are You Ready to Start Your Career as an Informatics Nurse?

If you can juggle many responsibilities and feel as comfortable working with technology as you do with people, a career in Informatics Nursing could 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.