Nursing Informatics Degree Programs

Training in nursing informatics is usually offered in master's degree and graduate certificate programs, and usually includes an internship or clinical rotation for hands-on practice. Graduates of nursing informatics programs can work as specialists who handle electronic medical records and information systems in a variety of settings, including hospitals and public health organizations.

Essential Information

Nursing informatics involves the integration of healthcare with the social sciences, information science and computer technology in order to improve and advance the quality of healthcare delivery. A master's degree program in nursing informatics can help students understand how information systems are designed and used in medical facilities. Similarly a graduate certificate can help students learn how to use information systems and technology to provide a better healthcare experience for both medical staff and patients.

  • Program Levels in Nursing Informatics: Master's degree. Graduate certificate.
  • Prerequisites (Master's Degree): Bachelor's degree in nursing or related field. Background check.
  • Prerequisites (Graduate certificate): Varies by program.
  • Online Availability: Some programs are offered online.
  • Experiential Learning: Internships.
  • Program Length (Master's degree): 2 years
  • Program Length (Graduate certificate): A year or less.

Certificate and Degree Programs in Nursing Informatics

In a Master's degree program students can learn how to manage those systems, identify technical requirements and determine the effectiveness of information systems. The curriculum of a nursing informatics program usually includes an internship, which can allow students to work in the field of informatics to gain practical experience.

Students studying nursing informatics typically learn about new technologies in the healthcare field, organizational techniques and system design. Topics covered in the classroom portion of the program could include:

  • Management information systems
  • Healthcare ethics and laws
  • Information system analysis
  • Database design
  • Information security techniques and tools
  • Integration of nursing information systems

Students in a graduate certificate program can learn how to create and implement information systems that are efficient and effective within a healthcare environment. Programs might include a practicum or allow students to apply work in the field toward program requirements. Though some programs accept graduates of bachelor's degree programs in nursing, most are offered as post-master's programs.

The curriculum of a certificate program usually includes courses that introduce students to nursing informatics and general healthcare laws and ethics. Common course topics include:

  • Nursing information systems assessment
  • Information system design
  • System project management
  • Maintenance of information systems
  • Data mining and warehousing

Popular Career Options

Nursing informatics graduates can qualify to work in clinical, consumer health, educational and research settings, among others. Nurses who complete a nursing informatics program are prepared to work in both nursing and information technology. Possible job titles include:

  • Informatics coordinator
  • Chief nursing informatics officer
  • Public health informatics specialist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 2.6 million nursing jobs in 2010, with a projected 12% growth from 2012-2022(www.bls.gov). Government initiatives offer medical practitioners incentives for switching medical records to an electronic form, which could improve opportunities for nursing informatics professionals. In June 2015, PayScale.com reported that most nursing informatics specialists earned from $49,953-$92, 440 annually after bonuses.

Certification Information

To practice as a nurse, individuals must complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination as well as satisfy any additional state regulations. There are no special requirements beyond licensing to work in informatics, but individuals could consider earning voluntary credentials specific to nursing and information technology, such as those offered through the National League for Nursing or the American Nurse Credentialing Center.

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