Those who currently work in the health care field are familiar with the rapidly increasing use of technological systems to streamline and improve access to clinical data during treatment. Nurses who specialize in nursing informatics can play a driving role in this process, and earning a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degree in that field can be an avenue into this exciting specialization.
DNP in Nursing Informatics Programs
Those who are considering a DNP in nurse informatics typically must meet a range of prerequisites to enter a program. Most universities will require candidates to hold an RN license and a BSN or other bachelor's degree. Candidates will typically be required to submit transcripts and recommendations to enter the program. Prior clinical experience can be helpful in gaining admission.
DNP programs can typically be completed in three to four years of full-time study, and students who already hold a master's degree may complete programs in less time. Courses may include health care research, knowledge management in health care, health statistics, and advanced epidemiology. A practicum or other clinical experience focused on nursing informatics will likely be a component of the DNP program. Upon the completion of your DNP, you should be qualified to sit for the examination for the informatics nurse certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Online options are available for completing the DNP. Many online programs will require a residency on campus, to develop clinical skills, work with advisors, and participate in other program enhancements.
DNP in Nurse Informatics Career Options
Various opportunities in nursing and health care are available for those who earn a DNP in nursing informatics. The advanced degree will make a candidate very marketable for any of the roles described below.
Many nurses who obtain their DNP in nurse informatics will wish to become a nurse informatician. These professionals will specialize in using a range of information management systems to analyze electronic medical data to support patient safety and care. Salaries for nurses who specialize in informatics reflect the highly specialized nature of the field. Those who hold the title of informatics nurse have an average annual salary of $77,475*.
Some graduates of DNP programs will desire to educate future nurses by working as a college professor. Professors design syllabi, and instruct students regarding their area of specialization. They may work closely with students to develop clinical skills. Professors who hold an RN license report an average salary of $70,310*.
Another career option is to focus as a clinical analyst. Clinical analysts run reports and train users on the clinical informatics systems that are used. They may make recommendations regarding appropriate management of work flow. Clinical analysts report an average salary of $67,414*.
Some DNP graduates may wish to enter the field of health care consulting. Consultants help clients to analyze their current organization, and to design procedures to help them run more efficiently. The average annual income for healthcare consultants is $76,142*.
Chief Information Officer
Nurse informaticians who wish to obtain management positions within a hospital may seek a role as the chief information officer, or CIO. This is a high-level management position within a hospital, which specializes in coordinating the overall information technology strategy and overseeing the development of a range of informatics systems. Salaries for CIO's are high, with an average reported salary of $154,669*.
Source: PayScale.com (2018)*
For those who wish to be leaders in the nursing field, a DNP can be a great option for advancement. Completing the DNP degree with a specialization in nurse informatics can lead to a wide range of career options within the health care industry.