How Do You Become an Informatics Nurse?

Most people who are already in the nursing profession often wonder how to become an informatics nurse. Informatics nurses apply the knowledge of IT and nursing to manage patient records and other crucial data in a healthcare facility. This post will shed more light on what you need to do in order to become an informatics nurse.

Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

The most favored and direct way of becoming a nurse informatics specialist is through higher education. You must obtain at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a recognized institution. A BSN degree takes at least three years to complete and focuses on courses such as health assessment, psychology, pharmacology, anatomy and patient care. The degree offers a basic understanding of the nursing procedures and competence in clinical or hospital settings.

Those who major in fields other than nursing can also qualify to become informatics nurses if they do accelerated programs, which take between 12 and 18 months to complete.

Get a License

Everybody who practices nursing as a profession in the US must have a valid registered nurse (RN) license. In order to get this license, you must first graduate with a BSN degree from an institution recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education (ACNE). After that, you will be required to sit and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. This examination is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. It tests whether you have mastered the basic principles of nursing and prepared to perform the duties of a nurse. The exam covers areas such as management of care, coping adaptation, basic care and comfort, reduction of risk potential and prevention of disease. You will be awarded a registered nurse (RN) credential once you pass the exam.

Obtain a Master’s of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) Degree

After you obtain your RN license, you will need to pursue a Master’s of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) degree. The main courses in this degree program include healthcare data, health information source, ethical and legal issues in health informatics, healthcare information systems analysis and design and healthcare IT vendor management. These courses will equip you with the skills you need to enhance the use of information technology in all aspects of healthcare, such as nursing, clinical care, public health, medical research and pharmacy. MSHI programs take between two to three years to complete.

Apply for Certification

You need to apply for certification to increase your chances of qualifying for advanced positions in your career. The American Nurses Credentialing Center has a certification for nurse informatics specialists. In order to qualify for this certification, you must have practiced full-time as a registered nurse for a period not less than two years. You must also practice for a minimum of 2,000 hours in informatics nursing within three years. Once you meet these criteria, you will be awarded an RN-BC credential.

Informatics Nurse Salary

Nursing informatics specialists earn an average salary of $82,691 per year, according to PayScale. The salary ranges between $65,103 and $105,110. The employment rate is expected to grow by 16 percent over the next 10 years. This growth will be fueled by the increasing usage of technology for storing, tracking and retrieving data in healthcare facilities.

Related Resource: What is a Nurse Advocate?

As an informatics nurse you will play a key role in the IT department within a healthcare facility. The post discussed above will give you some helpful tips on how to become an informatics nurse.