How to Become a Nurse Informaticist

Many people who want to pursue a career in nursing are also very interested in working with health records and in aspects of health information processing. After you earn your online nursing degree, you can have the best of both worlds and become a nurse informaticist. Work opportunities abound for these types of nurses because hospitals across the nation are transitioning to electronic records, patient file processing and automated health insurance.

What do nurse informaticists do?
Nurse informaticists focus on improving the processes that involve information management and communication between physicians, nurses, insurance company representatives and other health care-related professionals. Nurses in health informatics combine their medical knowledge and clinical skills with the fields of computer science and information technology. Nurse informaticists deal with a lot of documentation because of the nature of patient processing. Whether you find yourself at a large hospital or a private practice, documentation is the way that health care professionals recognize each patient, identify patients' medical history and establish possible treatment plans.

If you plan on working as a nurse informaticist, be ready to apply your knowledge of IT. Employers might ask you to develop networks specific to their hospital's needs and improve the user interface for nurses who might not be adept at using emerging technology. By integrating a new system seamlessly into the routines of floor nurses, nurse informaticists directly assist the hospital's or clinic's patients.

What degrees or certification do nurse informaticists have?
Most nurse informaticists have a bachelor's degree in nursing and then continue their education in the informatics field. You can augment your knowledge in computerized documentation or focus on other aspects of medical technology. Try to stay involved in the field by becoming a member of an accredited organization like the American Medical Informatics Association, the Health Information and Management Systems Society, the American Nursing Informatics Association or the Capital Area Roundtable on Informatics in Nursing. These organizations provide plenty of educational materials on nurse informatics, hold workshops on how to successfully complete certification, and offer networking opportunities

Why should I become a nurse informaticist?
There are many reasons why you should become a nurse informaticist. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have direct information on nurses in informatics, it does state that registered nurses earn a median annual wage of $65,470. Job opportunities for nurses are also expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers.nursing.

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