What is Nursing Informatics?

  • Article by:Health Career Center

Nursing informatics (NI) is a specialized field in the health informatics sector. It integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, and knowledge in the practice of nursing. Those working in NI oversee the integration of data and information to assist and support the decision-making of both patients and their healthcare providers.

As technology changes rapidly throughout the years, nursing must too. Federal mandates require that healthcare providers and medical professionals now transition all medical records to electronic health records (EHRs), as well as incorporate enhanced data information management systems for better dissemination of important patient and procedural information. This new requirement, along with advancements in technology in healthcare, has resulted in the relatively new field of nursing informatics.

The Job Function of Nursing Informatics:

The primary job function of those working in nursing informatics is to increase and improve the management of electronic information and communications in nursing in order to boost overall efficiency in health care, cut costs, and enhance and improve patient care quality. NI professionals also work to improve patient security and confidentiality.

A career in nursing informatics is far more technical than in other nursing specialties, so individuals with an interest in both nursing and technology will excel in the careers available under this specialty. Because NI is still a relatively new specialty and all areas of the medical field now require an IT professional on staff, the demand is high for Nursing Informatics Specialists at all types of facilities, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, universities, consulting firms, and more.

Depending on the level of education achieved, individuals interested in nursing informatics can pursue a variety of job titles and career opportunities. Examples of positions available in the specialty are:

  • Nursing Informatics Specialist
  • Clinical Informatics Analyst
  • Director of Clinical Informatics
  • Clinical Informatics Coordinator
  • Chief Nursing Informatics Officer
  • Clinical Information Systems Manager
  • Program Manager of Clinical Informatics
  • Nurse Informaticist
  • Health Information Technician

Although the job responsibilities vary greatly depending on the job title in nursing informatics, responsibilities typically associated with NI roles include:

  • Designing and developing information systems, like patient portals
  • Educating, training, and supporting system users
  • Project management
  • Policy writing
  • Selecting appropriate data management systems
  • Performing maintenance and customizing functionality on information systems
  • Ensuring compliance with all laws and standards
  • Analyzing data and information to inform decision support

The Career Outlook for Nursing Informatics:

The career outlook for NI professionals is bright, with rapid growth expected due to the high demand for IT professionals in healthcare facilities. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically track data for nurse informatics roles, they provide data for similar roles. For Computer Systems Analysts, employment is projected to grow 21 percent by 2024. Similarly, the employment of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians is expected to grow 15 percent by 2024.

Professionals pursuing a career in nursing informatics will benefit from the competitive annual salaries;  average annual salaries for various nursing informatics jobs include:

  • Nursing Informatics Specialist: $100,717
  • Clinical Informatics Analyst: $77,960
  • Clinical Informatics Coordinator: $82,710
  • Chief Nursing Informatics Officer: $200,000

Given the high demand for health informatics professionals and  competitive salaries offered there has never been a better time to pursue a career in nursing informatics. If you are considering a career in this specialty, click here to browse a variety of nursing informatics jobs currently available throughout the U.S.