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Nursing Informatics- Another Career Avenue

Nursing Informatics- Another Career Avenue

Hollis Forester, RNC-NP

As we are all aware, electronic health records, on-line learning and countless other forms of technological assistance tools for the medical professional are here and here to stay. These valuable resources can offer the hospital or ambulatory care nurse the possibility of medical records readily at hand, reminders of allergies, and quick references for patient care essentials. However, all of these technologies need medical professionals who are willing to assure they are responding to the needs of the clinicians on the floor or in the clinic. Electronic health records are designed by vendors. Perhaps they have medical input into their development, however, using a system “out of the box” for your clinic will probably not fly. The systems need tweaking and adjusting to your needs, your protocols, your specific populations of patients. And, of course, after the system is in place, training staff, maintaining the system and assuring its ongoing quality will be someone’s responsibility. Nurses are precisely poised to adopt these roles. Having the knowledge of medicine with the practical experience of work on the hospital floor or in an ambulatory setting can give you the advantage to make a real difference in the creation of an electronic health record system that will really help the staff instead of frustrating them.

On-line learning is also becoming a major player in the education of nurses and support staff. The cost benefits of avoiding travel as well as the convenience of learning between patients or at home are contributing to the acceptance of these courses presented in an on-line format. But these courses are difficult and time consuming to develop. Subject matter experts are needed in a vast variety of disciplines within the healthcare arena. And, you could be there, to help in the development of the best learning tools, contributing to patient safety by creating the best resources possible for your staff.

These two new health informatics paths are only a sampling of the kind of technology that is available now to the medical profession and two of the paths that need nursing leadership to develop the best tools for nursing use.

According to some, this is the “hottest” new field in nursing. Nursing Informatics has been around for a decade, at least, and there are credentialing bodies and certification programs to prove it. Informatics nurses can be certified through the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center). They offer a test that you are eligible to sit for if you have a:

• Current RN license • BA or BSN • Have worked for two years as an RN • Have worked for 2000 hours in informatics within the last three years, or • Have worked for 1000 hours and have taken 12 hours of academic credits in informatics, or • Have completed a graduate program in informatics.

You can begin to get experience in this exciting new field with weekend immersion programs or other CEU opportunities.

And, with fewer requirements, you can get a certification in Health IT (including, of course, the training to back up the certificate) through the organization, ANIA (American Nurses Informatics Association). This website can give you valuable information about schools that offer graduate degrees in informatics, CEU opportunities, possibilities of certification in this field and just general information about the possibility of this specialty in your life.

Moving into this career path can be incredibly rewarding. You will be helping your organization make decisions about technology (E.H.R., learning opportunities, point of service decision making tools) that can make you patient’s care safer and your peers work-day less stressful and more satisfying. If you have the talent or the drive to consider looking at this opportunity, I am sure your colleagues will thank you for it!


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    BilingualNurse

    5 months ago

    2 comments

    I am an LVN how do I get into this field of Nursing informatics? do I need to get additional certifications?

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    tammiebridgemore

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I moved into IT after 13 years of clinical nursing in a variety of areas. If you are interested in nursing informatics or healthcare IT, I would suggest getting involved in the clinical technology implementations that are "going on now at a hospital near you" as almost all hospitals are currently doing various projects to prepare for healthcare reform, meaninful use, etc. This will give you an opportunity to decide if this is the career change you'd like to pursue. Another certification that is very valuable in this industry is a PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification. Nurses who have a passion for IT make can make excellent project managers in HIT due to our critical thinking and communication skills. We are driven to establish efficiency and processes while also understanding the "big-picture" or desired end-state which is impacted by workflow. Current CIOs and IT Leaders are seeking good nurses and clinicians to help them better understand and communicate the organizational impacts of the technology implementations. You can also become an invaluable resource to the CNO as you assist them in understanding the resource requirements and the operational impacts of the projects.

    I hope this helps. This is the path that I have taken and have never regretted a day of it. I love what I do so much that after becoming a CIO, I decided to partner with my former CIO and we have started our own Healthcare IT Consulting company called Bridgemore Solutions (www.bridgemoresolutions.com). I am always willing to share my experience and answer questions for others who are considering making the change so feel free to email me at tammie@bridgemoresolutions.com

    Best of luck to you!

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    TammyNewcomb

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I will definately look into this when I get two years experience.

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    Lakeshashn

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I heard about Informatic nursing a few months ago and think its a great idea. Im an LPN and will graduate next may with an ADN. I want to further my education and go into informatic nursing. I do PPS MDS, so i'm on the computer everyday anyway. Sounds exciting to me.

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