Nursing Informatics Specialist Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Get the truth about a nursing informatics salary, education, training, licensing requirements and career prospects. Read the job descriptions and see the pros and cons of entering this field.
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Pros and Cons of a Nursing Informatics Career

Informatics nurses are a growing occupation in the healthcare field, responsible for managing and improving healthcare systems. If you are considering a career as an informatics nurse take a look at the following pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros of a Nursing Informatics Career
Entry-level jobs available to those with a bachelor's degree*
Generous wages (annual median wage about $82,710)*
Higher-than-average job growth predicted (22% from 2012-2022)*
Allows you to participate in creating and implementing more effective healthcare systems*

Cons of a Nursing Informatics Career
Some positions may require you to have an advanced degree*
Less focus on patient interaction**
Position may be stressful*
Job requires a combination of analytical and social skills*

Sources: *O*Net Online, **Job postings (December 2012)

Informatics Nursing Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Informatics nurses gather and compile information to help create improvements in healthcare systems. Some of their work involves discovering ways to find the most effective patient care by considering the patients' resources, such as insurance and personal budgets. Other projects often include streamlining the work of practicing nurses in their day-to-day job activities and improving privacy issues for patients. Once you design these improved systems of healthcare delivery, you'll also need to be able to teach your staff how to implement them.

Salary and Career Prospects

Nursing informatics is a relatively new field that's recently gaining popularity. According to O*Net, this field is predicted to grow by about 22% between 2012 and 2022. This is considered to be a career field with a bright outlook. In 2014, these professionals were earning an annual median wage of approximately $82,710.

What Are the Requirements for a Nursing Informatics Career?

Education and Licensing

If you look through job ads, you'll see that most informatics nurses are required to have at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a current registered nurse (RN) license. To earn your RN license, you'll need to meet specific criteria mandated by the state in which you work and pass the National Council Licensing Exam for RNs (NCLEX-RN).

Personal Strengths

Informatics nurses are expected to be very detail-oriented, analytical and able to tolerate stress. Persistence is considered a valuable trait and communication skills are essential. If the position requires you to implement your strategies, you may need to display excellent teaching and social skills.

What Do Employers Seek?

One area of required knowledge consistently noted in job postings is an understanding of clinical information systems. Many jobs require you to be able to function throughout the lifespan of a project from information gathering stages to ensuring new programs continue to be utilized properly. The job postings below were accessed in December 2012.

  • A hospital near the District of Columbia sought a clinical informatics specialist. You would need a BSN degree for this position. Your responsibilities would include all aspects of information process creation and implementation to improve nursing procedures. You would also be responsible for educating the nursing staff about informatics systems and monitor the processes to make sure they comply with best practice procedures.
  • An Indiana healthcare organization looked for an informatics nurse to assist in the creation and implementation of a clinical information system. You would need a 4-year degree and 2-5 years of experience. You must also have been an RN. This was a team position and part of your responsibilities would be to translate clinical needs into effective programs through the use of informatics.
  • A Texas hospital wanted an informatics nurse specialist to help plan, maintain and implement a clinical information system. You must have had a BSN degree and at least five years of informatics experience. The ideal candidate would have a balance of clinical and informatics knowledge and experience as well as excellent communication and organization skills.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Specialize Your Education

Along with traditional nursing education, you can get a jump-start on your career by tailoring your studies through informatics degree programs and classes. Several schools offer nursing informatics programs that include classes such as organization information systems, database management, information technology management and business analytics. Many programs lead to a master's degree; some are offered in online formats.

Continuing Education

Another way to stay ahead of the pack is to make sure your knowledge base is cutting-edge. You can stay current through associations such as the American Nursing Informatics Association, which publishes newsletters and hosts conferences. You can also take continuing education courses at colleges or through organizations such as The American Medical Informatics Association, which works to promote innovation in informatics throughout the medical and academic world.

Other Career Options

Registered Nurse

If you want a more hands-on approach to nursing, you might consider becoming a registered nurse. You'll need approved nursing education in the form of a nursing diploma, associate's degree or a BSN. The curriculum includes classroom and lab instruction as well as clinical work with actual patients. You'll also need to pass the NCLEX-RN and meet licensing requirements mandated by your individual state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted registered nurses could see a 26% increase in job opportunities between 2010 and 2020. The annual mean wage reported by the BLS for registered nurses in May 2011 was over $69,000.

Nursing Instructors and Teachers

Perhaps you enjoy the education aspect of nursing informatics, but the heavy load of statistics analysis isn't for you. If so, you might consider a career as a nurse educator. Nursing educators usually need a master's degree; some professors have a Ph.D. or a professional degree. About 100 schools in the U.S. offer programs in nursing education. O*Net predicts nursing instructors and professors could see a 10%-19% job opportunity growth through 2010-2020. The BLS showed college nursing instructors and teachers earned an annual mean wage of nearly $68,000 in May 2011.

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Regent University

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Tulane University

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American National University

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Georgetown University

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South College

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Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - PC Maintenance and Repair

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South University

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