Opportunities in Informatics are Plentiful and Require Advanced Degree Offered By Online Nursing Schools. Nursing informatics is a healthcare trend that is here to stay; and according to a nursing professor at American Sentinel University, nurses working in the specialized field of nursing informatics are thriving in healthcare.
“Nurse informaticists are in high demand due to federal regulations and the Medicare program. Healthcare staff and hospital administrators are required to use technical resources such as the electronic health record (EHR) to improve healthcare quality, safety, and efficiency,” says Ramona Yehle Ph.D., MS, RN, adjunct professor, graduate nursing programs at American Sentinel University.
Nursing informatics is the practice of integrating health science, computer science and information technology to help clinicians more efficiently store, retrieve and apply mass amounts of critical data as part of daily care delivery.
“Nurses have an immediate advantage in this field because they are the most frequent users of the EHR and have critical knowledge of healthcare workflows and processes,” says Dr. Yehle. “Nurse informaticists can help computer science specialists better understand how care is delivered and documented, which affects how information systems are designed.”
Informatics Nurses in Demand
Currently, the U.S. Healthcare System has a high demand for nurses who can analyze technology from both the patient care perspective and the information technology frame of reference. Two major roles have emerged in the informatics field, the clinician who utilizes health information technology and the specialist who creates, facilitates, tests and implements new information technology.
Informaticists also work as the go-between the hospital and information technology vendors to implement and provide training for registered nurses and medical staff.
The need for nurses with informatics knowledge, as well as certifications in nursing informatics continues to expand. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) says the role and responsibilities for these nursing specialists continue to grow, citing that more than 60 percent of HIMSS survey respondents have either a Masters or Doctorate.
“EHRs are now part of healthcare, and patient safety will always be a top concern for healthcare providers. All nurses strive to deliver high quality and safe patient care, but many nurse informaticists find themselves in their career after gaining experiential knowledge as a super-user of the clinical staff,” says Dr. Yehle. “These are team members that take an interest in technology or have an aptitude for technology and acquire additional training or knowledge to support other clinicians at the bedside.”
The more direct route to a career in informatics is through formal education.
“While opportunities for nurse informaticists are plentiful, nursing informatics is not an entry-level career,” says Dr. Yehle. She notes that nurses in this specialty have several years of experience and advanced education in both information systems and nursing.
Charting a Career in Informatics
Informatics specialization begins at the graduate level with a Master of Science (MSN) degree that follows a specialty track in informatics. After completing an academic program along with two years of experience, a nurse can opt for certification. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers a board exam for a credential that can improve a nurse’s employment and salary potential.
Online nursing schools, like American Sentinel University, now offer one of the first online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with specialization in Informatics Leadership program to prepare highly qualified master’s educated nurse leaders and educators to lead informatics in today’s healthcare systems.
Dr. Yehle says an informatics nurse can look forward to a variety of career options in hospitals, healthcare facilities, public health organizations, research labs, medical software companies, insurance agencies, pharmaceutical companies and educational institutions.
Nurse informaticists are in demand nationally and worldwide. According to Nurse Journal (2016), the average salary for a nurse informaticist ranges between $49,000 to $87,000. Nurses with advanced degrees in informatics and experience can expect a salary around $100,000.(HIMSS 2014).
“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a nurse informaticist is that you play a key role in contributing to the ongoing improvement of patient safety,” says Dr. Yehle. “Informatics is for nurses who want to dive into the technology aspect of the business of healthcare, yet play a critical role in patient care by ensuring their information stays safe and is available to the medical staff at all times.”
For information or to register for American Sentinel University’s online MSN Nursing Informatics program or Doctor of Nursing Practice Informatics Leadership program, please visit http://www.americansentinel.edu/nursing/m-s-nursing/m-s-nursing-nursing-informatics or http://www.americansentinel.edu/nursing/dnp-informatics-leadership or call 866.922.5691.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
In June 2016, the Higher Education Commission Board of Trustees voted to grant American Sentinel University the status of candidate for accreditation. Institutions seeking accreditation by HLC are required to complete a period of candidacy before being evaluated for full accreditation. To earn and maintain candidacy, American Sentinel must fully meet the Commission’s Eligibility Requirements and Assumed Practices and demonstrate the capacity to meet all the Criteria for Accreditation within the candidacy period.
Please note, the MBA Healthcare Project-Based program is pending review for inclusion in the university’s programs covered by the Higher Learning Commission designation of candidate for accreditation.
For required student consumer information, please visit: www.americansentinel.edu/doe