Nursing Informatics: What Is It?

Nursing InformaticsNursing informatics is a growing, fairly new specialty that integrates the science of nursing with technology and analytical sciences. Because of the development of the nursing informatics field, health care organizations are better equipped to identify, define, manage and communicate data, knowledge, and wisdom within the practice of nursing. "Ten years ago, there was no formal training for a nurse informaticist, but today nursing informatics programs continue to evolve and the role is an integral part of promoting health in individuals, families, and communities worldwide, " said Natasha Zurcher, MSN/ED, RN, CPN, adjunct faculty member at the Purdue Global School of Nursing.

To be successful in the field o f informatics, one must be fluent in nursing and in technical terminology. "Nursing experience is a major component for those interested in nursing informatics, because in order to create realistic policies and procedures, one must thoroughly understand the day-to-day challenges nurses face," said Zurcher. Minimum requirements are a bachelor's degree in nursing, and many programs offer specialized training. For instance, Purdue Global offers a master's degree in nursing program with a concentration in nursing informatics and a  nursing informatics graduate certificate.*

What Does a Nurse Informaticist Do?

Within a health care organization, nurse informaticists are the liaisons between an organization's information technology (IT) department and nurses. Nurse informaticists work to advance health care as developers of communication and information technologies, as well as educators and researchers. Those trained in nursing informatics could have success as chief nursing officers and chief information officers. Depending on location, other positions could include software engineers, implementation consultants, and policy developers. Further, being fluent in the field can be a positive for those with desires to be small business owners in the health care industry.

Many opportunities in the field of nursing informatics deal with education and training of employees. With the advent of new technology and technological resources in the field of health care, organizations are finding it imperative to have programs available for educating new hires on how to use electronic charting and software programs.  In acute care facilities, the need for seamless transition of new employees and regular training of current employees can be significant. Especially in larger hospitals, some of which employ over 1,000 nurses at any given time, training and compliancy issues are constant. Often larger institutions have whole departments dedicated to nursing informatics.

Nursing Informatics and the ACA

With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its implications surrounding data compilation and management, it's expected that the nursing informatics professional will become a vital part of the systems and processes upon which health care IT relies. As organizations transition to electronic health records to build an interoperable national data infrastructure, these professionals provide support by modifying practices to reflect current standards while maintaining quality of care and patient safety. "A large part of nursing informatics has to do with compliancy issues of electronic charting due to the federal mandates of the ACA," said Zurcher.

Generally an autonomous, leadership role, Zurcher says nursing informatics can be an excellent career choice for innovative individuals with nursing careers who are research and data driven. "The nurse informatics role is perfect for an analytical thinker who is interested in making big changes in patient care," said Zurcher.  


Did you find this article interesting? If so, share it!

And if you are considering pursuing higher education we invite you to find out more about Purdue Global’s programs and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.

It is important to note that certain career paths are growing and our degrees are designed to strengthen your knowledge and prepare our students to advance their careers. But Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Several factors specific to a student’s or alumni’s backgrounds and actions, as well as economic and job conditions, affect employment. Also, keep in mind that national long-term projections covered in articles may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.


*Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.