As the nursing role in patient care changes and advances, so does the role of technology for improving health care. The nursing informatics degree is designed to give registered nurses the education, training and tools they need to enhance patient-nurse interactions and improve patient outcomes.
What is Nursing Informatics?
Nursing informatics is a specialty field of health informatics. The discipline stands at the intersection of nursing, information science and computer technology. It involves the acquisition, storage and retrieval of biomedical and health information.
Nurses who practice this discipline are passionate about shaping their practice and improving the technology of nursing. Computers, medical terminology, clinical guidelines, information and communication systems are the tools of their trade.
Nursing informatics provides assistance in all aspects of nursing care, from patient admission to discharge. Computer technology and information science significantly alters the way nurses treat, manage and care for their patients.
Nursing Informatics Degree Tracks
Most colleges offer two paths to a nursing informatics degree: the Registered Nurse (RN) track and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) track.
The RN track is designed for registered nurses who have a hospital diploma, an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor degree other than a BSN. It requires nurses to complete general education requirements before taking the core courses for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
Those who already hold a BSN and wish to advance to a nursing informatics specialty can take advantage of the BSN track. Typical specialty courses include informatics in nursing and healthcare; information and knowledge management; system design, planning and evaluation; and project management in health information technology.
Nursing informatics is usually a master’s degree program. In addition to an MSN, some colleges offer a Master of Science in Health Informatics or post-baccalaureate (non-degree) certificate in health information management.
The time of completion varies for each student, depending on their transfer credits and individual progress. A college enrollment advisor can provide a personalized estimate of the time to completion for most students.
Nursing Informatics Jobs
Nurses with a specialty in nursing informatics work in nursing administration. Some take positions that draw on their clinical backgrounds, and some take roles that use their organizational skills and technical knowledge.
The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) provides job descriptions for informatics nurses and specialists. Some of the professional job titles are Systems Analyst, Systems Administrator, Support Analyst, IT Training Manager, Project Leader, Project Manager and Chief Information Officer. The expert job titles include Informatics Coordinator, Trainer-Educator, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer and Information Technology Nursing Advocate.
Why Choose Online Degree Programs?
Nursing informatics is often an online degree program. Many nurses prefer to pursue their advanced degrees through online or distant learning. This allows them to further their knowledge and training without leaving the workforce.
Accredited online colleges have a proven track record in quality higher education, and their learning communities continue to grow as more adults avail themselves of online education. Online nursing informatics programs enable nurses to advance their knowledge and apply in it ways that impact their profession and their patients.
Online schools have an application process that students must complete before enrollment. Admission generally requires an online application, employment history, official transcripts, transfer credits, test scores and an application fee. Upon acceptance, enrollment advisers discuss degree options and guide students through the enrollment process.