What is Nursing Informatics? Salary & Career Guide

11 Min Read Published April 24, 2024
Informatics nurse career guide

With the ever-changing technological advancements in all facets of healthcare, nursing informatics is an exciting field. This guide will explain the informatics profession and how it directly impacts health outcomes. We will also discuss education requirements, salary expectations, career outlook, and how to become an informatics nurse. 

Keep reading to learn how you can join this growing nursing specialty. 

Popular Online Nursing Informatics Programs

Sponsored
Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Grand Canyon University

GCU 's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is committed to providing a curriculum that challenges and prepares graduates to lead and prosper in the ever-changing health care industry. 

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

What is Nursing Informatics?

Informatics nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work at the intersection of technology and nursing. Nursing informatics is a specialty that combines nursing, communications, computer science, and information science knowledge.

Nurses who work in nursing informatics use their clinical backgrounds alongside their computer and organizational skills. They analyze and develop the health systems nurses use in clinical settings. Some examples of nursing informatics are electronic health records (EHRs), Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSSs), and Telehealth and Telemedicine. 

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Nursing Informatics Jobs

There are many careers available for nursing informaticists. Some of the job titles they may hold are:

  1. Chief Information Officers
  2. Chief Nursing Officer
  3. Clinical Analyst
  4. Clinical Informatics Nurses
  5. Clinical Specialist
  6. Health Informatics Officer
  7. Informatics Nurse
  8. Nursing Informatics Specialists

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Why Do We Need Informatics Nurses?

Nursing informaticists improve health systems which can improve health outcomes for patients. 

These nurses work to develop communications and information technology systems while also serving as educators, specialists, researchers, and software engineers. 

Now is a great time to become an informatics nurse because of the growing emphasis on controlling healthcare costs. Nursing informatics can help rein in healthcare costs at hospitals and other medical facilities. 

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

What Does an Informatics Nurse Do?

Though the exact job description of an informatics nurse will vary by workplace, the American Medical Informatics Association reported that the core responsibilities of an informatics nurse include the following:

  1. Advance public health by influencing healthcare policy
  2. Contribute to the construction of an interoperable national data infrastructure
  3. Encourage evidence-based best practices, education, and research efforts
  4. Improve interpersonal workflow through communication and information technologies
  5. Manage and create a vision for communication and information technology development, design, and implementation
  6. Use methods of information retrieval and presentation to improve patient safety

Other responsibilities may include:

  1. Develop information systems based on current evidence-based standards of care 
  2. Ensure health information systems remain updated
  3. Educate staff on changes to electronic health records
  4. Manage the transition from paper charting to electronic medical charting
  5. Work with policymakers/government agencies to ensure laws support healthcare technology
  6. Work with policymakers/government agencies to ensure laws are compatible with provider and patient needs

Since their responsibilities don't include patient care, nursing informatics is considered one of the easiest nursing jobs. However, while non-bedside duties reduce stress, informatics nurses may still have demanding hours. Still, they stay off their feet and don't have to navigate the physical and emotional demands of direct patient care.

Skills Needed for a Career in Nursing Informatics

  1. Communication
  2. Computer programming
  3. Critical thinking & problem-solving
  4. Interpersonal skills like empathy and conflict resolution
  5. Knowledge of health data systems
  6. Project management

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Nursing Informatics Salary

RNs earn a median annual salary of $86,070 per year or $41.38 per hour, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the BLS doesn't separate nursing informatics salaries from other RNs. Reported informatics nurse salaries vary widely across different platforms. 

For example, Glassdoor data reveals an average annual median salary of $149,000 for informatics RNs. Yet, Payscale reports an average yearly wage of $84,574 per year, or $37.29 per hour. 

The HIMSS 2023 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey found that 60% of informatics nurses earn over $100,000 annually. 

>> Related: Nursing Informatics Salary Guide

Highest Paying States for Informatics Nurses

ZipRecruiter found the highest annual salaries for informatics nurses in the following states:

  • New Jersey - $104,615 avg. annual salary
  • Wyoming - $103,856
  • Wisconsin - $102,486
  • Washington - $102,229
  • Massachusetts - $101,772

How to Increase Your Salary as an Informatics Nurse

Your earning potential as an informatics nurse also increases with continued education. Nurses in many health systems also get raises during annual employee performance reviews.

Furthermore, a nursing informatics certification will help you earn more as an informatics nurse. Many higher-paying nursing informatics jobs require you to hold this certification and have a few years of experience before considering your application.

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

How to Become an Informatics Nurse

To become an informatics nurse, you'll need to complete the following steps:

1. Attend Nursing School

While some employers will hire tech-savvy BSN-prepared nurses for informaticist jobs, there is an increasing demand for nurse informaticists to have a master's of science in nursing degree (MSN). Some also earn their doctorate, though it isn't required.

ADN-prepared nurses can complete a BSN degree or enter an accelerated RN to MSN program to meet this nursing informatics requirement. Check out the top nursing informatics programs to get started on your education requirements.

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN

Become a registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN examination.

3. Gain Bedside Experience

Bedside experience is essential for informatics nurses because it allows them to understand the equipment and its uses within the organization. Furthermore, it will help the nurse become familiar with electronic medical record systems and their processes. 

4. Earn Your Certification

There are three nursing informatics certification options: RN-BC, CAHIMS, or CPHIMs. These credentials may help advance your career by showcasing your skills in healthcare technology and systems.

Popular Online Nursing Informatics Programs

Sponsored
Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Grand Canyon University

GCU 's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is committed to providing a curriculum that challenges and prepares graduates to lead and prosper in the ever-changing health care industry. 

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Tips for Becoming an Informatics Nurse

Informatics nurses are in demand, but the best jobs will still have some competition. Make your resume stand out with these tips for starting your nursing informatics career:

Become a Super User

Nurses comfortable with technology can become super-users within their clinical departments or facilities, gain expertise with new systems (such as EMRs and EHRs), and help to train and mentor other nurses who need support.

Such tech-savvy nurses can also volunteer for their employers' informatics departments and participate in studies, training, and research, exposing them to expert knowledge and skills. 

In this way, nurses can become more familiar with the tools of this specialty before starting a nursing informatics program.

Network

Networking should be central to getting to know other healthcare informatics experts. By networking with those who understand this career path, you can keep your finger on the pulse of crucial trends.

Informational interviews, a form of deep networking, can accelerate your process by allowing you to tap the knowledge of people in the know. Informational interviews can reveal recommendations for certifications, master's degree programs, best practices, and ways to improve your resume and marketability. 

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Where Do Informatics Nurses Work?

Informatics nurses most often work at healthcare organizations or technology companies. However, they can work in various locations, both onsite and remotely. Other organizations that hire informatics nurses include but aren't limited to:

  • Ambulatory care centers
  • Counseling centers
  • Electronic medical record companies
  • Government or military facilities
  • Healthcare product companies
  • Hospital or health systems
  • Research facilities
  • Schools or universities
  • Urgent Care Clinics

As the role of the informatics nurse expands, so will the available work locations. 

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Career Outlook

Opportunities for jobs in nursing informatics are exploding thanks to the use of electronic medical records and information technology in healthcare settings. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2009 and the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act (PPACA) in 2008 increased the need for technology-based nurses.

Responding to these trends, the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses estimates that as many as 70,000 health informatics specialists will be required within the next few years. The BLS also projects that medical and health services managers will grow by 28% by 2032, indicating a steady growth and positive career outlook for informatics nurses.

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Continuing Education Requirements

Like any other nurse, an informatics nurse must follow their state's guidelines for RN license renewal. In most states, this process includes applying for renewal, completing continuing education competencies, and paying a fee.

To know which standards you must meet for renewal, check with your state's board of nursing. You can also find a detailed analysis of RN continued education requirements here.

ANCC Nursing Informatics Certification Renewal

Informatics nurses have the additional responsibility of maintaining their RN-BC certification. The ANCC requires you to renew this credential every five years after completing specific continuing education requirements.

Popular Online Nursing Informatics Programs

Sponsored
Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Grand Canyon University

GCU 's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is committed to providing a curriculum that challenges and prepares graduates to lead and prosper in the ever-changing health care industry. 

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Informatics Nursing Resources

Check out these related articles and organizations to learn more about the nursing informatics profession.

Read next:

Check out these organizations:

>> Show Me Nursing Informatics Programs

Informatics nurses with graduate degrees can easily become nurse administrators or nurse educators. Some who focus on information technology become chief information officers or information technology nursing advocates in their respective organizations. Some other related nursing specialties for informatics nurses include:

Research Nurses

Research nurses 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

Consumer needs consultants are RNs who help deliver health information to consumers via the internet and other electronic media. Informatics training is vital 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 regarding health information, and improve programs such as telemedicine and telemonitoring.

Public Health Nurses

Public health informatics is an emerging field with many opportunities. Public health nurses can use an informatics background to collect and analyze epidemiology information for the public, other healthcare professionals, and policymakers. Among practical applications are maintaining immunization registries and public health surveillance systems. 

Nursing Informatics and the Future

Nursing informatics incorporates knowledge of multiple disciplines. As an informatics nurse, you'll impact patients, the public, and healthcare professionals. Candidates with a mix of nursing, information technology, communication, and organizational skills are in high demand for jobs in this field.

Informatics is undoubtedly here to stay. Nurses who love computers, information systems, and data management would be wise to enter this specialty and leverage their skills and experiences for an exciting and well-paying nursing career.

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Kathleen Gaines
MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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