Nursing Informatics Jobs: What Nurses Should Know
By Ashley Brooks on 04/19/2021
You know the basics of what most nursing jobs entail, but nursing informatics jobs aren’t quite as familiar to you. This specialty is on your radar as you explore your options for advancing your nursing career, but you still have a whole lot of questions that need answering before you commit.
What sorts of job titles are available in nursing informatics? How is this field different from traditional nursing roles? Will you feel like you’re too far removed from patient care and other nurses?
We can’t tell you if nursing informatics is the right specialty for you, but we can provide you with the information you need to make a well-informed decision. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of this advanced nursing specialty and answer your burning career questions.
What is nursing informatics?
Nursing informatics is a specialty that lives at the intersection of information technology and nursing. It may seem at first glance like these two fields are completely unrelated, but in reality, IT and data analysis play a large part in helping nurses provide top-notch patient care.
Unlike bedside nursing positions, where RNs care directly for patients, those working in nurse informatics have a behind-the-scenes role in improving patient care. The mission statement of the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) says that this specialty “is essential to the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective care” and that nurses working in this field are committed to using IT to share “data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing.”1
Nursing informatics plays a vital role in supporting bedside nurses, giving them the tools and processes they need to best care for patients and improve health in both individuals and the broader community. One study found that, thanks to the integration of new technology, nursing informatics can have a dramatic effect on patient outcomes by increasing patient safety, improving efficiency and helping nurses allocate time and resources to the patients in greatest need.2
This specialty places experienced nurses in a position to make high-level technological changes based on data that can lead to life-saving outcomes for patients. It may not involve direct patient care, but having that amount of influence over the inner workings of a healthcare facility is nothing to scoff at!
Nursing informatics jobs to consider
Now that you know the basics of what nursing informatics is, let’s dive deeper into the individual job titles in this field and how they work together.
Informatics nurse specialist
Nurse informatics specialists typically serve as the middleman between bedside nurses and those in the IT department. They use their strong data analysis and communication skills to bring these areas of healthcare together.
Key job duties:
- Helping nurse managers analyze and interpret data about patient safety and outcomes
- Collaborating with other healthcare workers to identify opportunities for IT to improve workflows or patient safety
- Developing IT-related policies and procedures for nurses
- Coordinating with clinical systems analysts and others on the nursing informatics team to implement new technologies
Director of clinical informatics
This management position typically oversees the systems that handle patient data in their healthcare facility, such as electronic health records (EHR), virtual telehealth systems and apps that allow patients to access their medical data online.
Key job duties:
- Training nurses and other healthcare professionals in the use of these health data systems
- Evaluating existing data systems and keeping an eye out for new technologies that could improve their facility’s record-keeping process
- Making recommendations to executives about new technology options
- Maintaining compliance with regulations surrounding privacy and medical data
- Supervising the troubleshooting of errors within an IT data system
Clinical systems analyst
These boots-on-the-ground nurse informaticists are responsible for installing, updating and managing the day-to-day operations of computer systems within their healthcare facilities. They often have a good sense of the processes and procedures in place in a particular department so they can be as helpful as possible.
Key job duties:
- Troubleshooting errors and user problems in daily operations
- Training users on new technology features or updates
- Implementing and installing new systems to work within a facility’s existing procedures
- Testing computer networks and systems
These nurse informaticists are responsible for educating new users on their facilities’ medical data systems, as well as providing training to existing users any time there are significant updates.
Key job duties:
- Developing training materials, curriculum and procedures for different types of end users
- Presenting educational training to groups of various sizes
- Administering hands-on software training and ensuring that end users are prepared to work within a data system
- Ensuring that all training complies with healthcare policies and privacy regulations
Chief nursing informatics officer (CNIO)
This executive position provides leadership to the entire nursing informatics team, as well as collaborates with both nurses and administrative leaders in a medical facility to guide the overall direction of nursing technologies.
Key job duties:
- Identifying informatics strategies to support clinical nurses and improve patient safety
- Understanding the latest evidence-based research on nursing practices to incorporate with technology
- Creating a strong, IT-based communication process between nurses and other healthcare workers
- Serving as a liaison among healthcare administrators, health IT workers and clinical healthcare workers
- Evaluating new technologies and staying informed about health and technology regulations
Education requirements for nursing informatics jobs
You can’t become a nurse informaticist without first becoming a licensed nurse! If you’re not yet an RN and intend to pursue a nursing informatics role, your education journey will likely start with earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and passing the NCLEX-RN exam to become fully licensed.
Although a graduate degree isn’t technically required to enter the nursing informatics field, earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is certainly something you’ll want to consider. An HIMSS survey found that 57 percent of nurse informaticists held Master’s degrees or higher—and they advise that this is true particularly for higher-level nurse informaticist positions.3
You can stand out to employers even further by opting to become board certified in informatics nursing. Again, this step isn’t a requirement, but it can help give you a leg up as you apply for nursing informatics jobs and continue advancing your career in this specialty. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) administers the certification exam to any RN with at least two years of nursing experience, along with required continuing education and practice hours relevant to nursing informatics.
Is this the nursing specialization for you?
Did one of these nursing informatics jobs stand out to you? If you can picture yourself in one of these nursing informatics roles, you’re probably itching to get started in this unique nursing specialty!
If you already have your BSN under your belt, the next step to leveling up your nursing career is to earn your MSN degree—especially if you’ve got your eye on an executive nursing informatics position. Learn more about the MSN program at Rasmussen University by checking out the details of our Master of Science in Nursing online program!
1American Nursing Informatics Association, ANIA Fact Sheet [accessed March 2021] https://www.ania.org/sites/default/files/assets/documents/factSheet.pdf
2 “The Role of Nursing Informatics on Promoting Quality of Health Care and the Need for Appropriate Education,” Global Journal of Health Science, [accessed March 2021], https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4825491/
3Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, [accessed March 2021] https://www.himss.org/resources/what-nursing-informatics