Nursing Informatics Salary and Career Opportunities
Written By: Vonda J. Sines
Nursing informatics is a specialty area of nursing. It combines knowledge of nursing, communications, and information science in order to convey and manage data. Many informatics nurses make direct use of their clinical backgrounds, as well as informatics knowledge and organizational skills. Applied jobs tend to have an emphasis on the technical areas of development and systems evaluation. Some nurses function as experts in assessing organizational needs.
Informatics nurses are registered nurses (RNs.) The demand for RNs will increase 19% between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Their median yearly pay in 2012 was $65,470.
Opportunities for jobs in nursing informatics are exploding, thanks to use of electronic medical records and the general growth of information technology. The Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses reports that as many as 70,000 health informatics specialists will be required within the next few years. ExploreHEALTHCareers states that in 2014, the average annual salary for a nurse informaticist was $100,717.
Paths to Increase Nurse Informatics Salary
The path to the career ladder for someone in nursing informatics starts with becoming an RN. This requires earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or completing a three-year nursing program that is usually hospital-based. Candidates must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, usually referred to as NCLEX-RN.
Most RNs enter informatics through on-the-job training and already have several years’ nursing experience. Those who obtain a master’s or doctorate degree, or complete other post-graduate work in nursing information or a field like information management, can advance to the level of an informatics nurse specialist (INS), the University of Maryland School of Nursing reports.
Informatics nurses with graduate degrees can easily become nursing administrators or nurse educators. Some who focus on information technology become chief information officers or information technology nursing advocates in their respective organizations.
Regardless of how they advance along a career ladder, informatics nurses are the bridge between the clinical universe and the informational technology sphere.
RNs already working in nursing informatics might also have an interest in these related specialties:
- Research nurses most often work for colleges, universities, private organizations, or corporations. They use the scientific methods they learned in nursing education and practice to collect and analyze data. One of their most important roles is evaluating the impact informatics creates when it intervenes in health practices as well as outcomes.
- Consumer needs consultants are RNs who help deliver health information to consumers by using the Internet and other types of electronic media. Informatics training is important to address health promotion, patient-centered care, disease prevention, and self-care. These nurses also integrate consumer preferences into information systems, assess what is needed in the way of health information, and improve programs such as telemedicine and telemonitoring.
- Public health nurses can use an informatics background to collect and analyze epidemiology information for the public, other healthcare professionals, and policy makers. Public health informatics is an emerging field with many opportunities. Among practical applications are maintaining immunization registries and public health surveillance systems. See opportunities for Public health nurses near you.
Further Your Career
Nursing informatics is an exciting career that incorporates knowledge of multiple disciplines. It offers the opportunity to have an impact on patients, the public, and healthcare professionals. Candidates who have a mix of nursing, information technology, communication, and organizational skills are in high demand for jobs in this field.
Vonda J. Sines is a freelance writer based in the Washington, DC area. She specializes in health/medical, career, and pet topics and writes extensively about Crohn's disease. Her work has been published at EverydayHealth, Lifescript, womansday.com, Yahoo! Health, Catholic Digest, Angie's List Health, and on many more sites.