Nursing Informatics – What is it?
Nursing informatics is a specialty that combines computer expertise as well as data and information research within the field of nursing.
The end goal is promoting better patient care.
The nursing profession is primarily about patient care and education. As a nurse you are at the bedside taking vitals, delivering meds, observing patient behavior and symptoms, not to mention dealing with bodily fluids. Education of the patient, or to their family, on how and what the care should be after they return home is also a large part of the nursing profession.
Something else that is becoming more and more prevalent in nursing is the use of technology. More and more electronic medical records are being employed, mobile applications are entering the market in what seems to be a daily basis, new and updated medical devices are also continually showing up. Nurses need to be able to stay current, understand how to use the information and technology, and be comfortable enough with these things that their personal touch toward patient care is not hindered.
The nursing informatics specialist gathers information on all of the technology mentioned above, and much more.
The data is analyzed and then new procedures, software, devices, etc. are suggested. In nursing informatics, you also help to implement these strategies, tactics and equipment into the general nursing profession. So, you research, analyze, recommend, serve as a liaison between IT and the healthcare professionals, and you help to implement the new information.
You must be a Registered Nurse (RN) to be in this specialty. There are however, similar areas that you might not need to be an RN. Healthcare informatics and clinical informatics are slightly different than nursing informatics and may not require the RN status. Since I am focused on helping RNs, I will let those of yo who are interested in adjacent informatics careers do a little research to see if you fit into the parameters required. I may go more into these adjacent areas depending on the interest that I see from this post, or in my outside experiences.
On top of being an RN, you need a certification from the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center). Requirements, as usual, differ by state as to the specific coursework and experience. Go to your state board and/or the ANCC to get specific information.
There are positions available in consulting firms or vendors, but most nursing informatics RNs work in a hospital setting.
Because of your focus in computer systems, and the other tasks mentioned above, you probably wont have a tremendous amount of direct contact caring for patients. Most likely, you will be under supervision of the CNO and be in continual communication with the Chief Information Officer- or their staff.
Nursing Informatics may be a specialty you should consider -
If you are interested in bettering nursing by data collection and analysis, and are competent and comfortable with computers.
With the in creasing need for more nurses (The US Dept. of Health and Human Services expects nearly a million unfilled RN positions by 2020) and the ever growing presence of technology, the health care industry will be needing more and more nursing informatics professionals.
The Health Care Information and Management Systems Society at www.himss.org has some more good information if you would like to pursue nursing informatics in more detail.
This Nursing Informatics Video may be helpful:
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