The growing role of technology in our everyday lives has permeated health care settings. Today nurses hare specializing in informatics and they have acquired titles like computer nurse, nurse informaticists, IT nurse and many others. Nursing informatics goes beyond just understanding computers and new technology. It integrates nursing science with computer and information science to store, manage and communicate data and knowledge in nursing.
This career mainly focuses on establishing methods of enhancing information management and communications in nursing practice so as to improve the quality of health care, reduce costs, boost efficiency. This kind of informatics has made it possible for nurses to access the patient’s health records in a streamlined manner through computers. That way it becomes possible to retrieve all the required patient information in little time. Transitions to automated systems are taking place in hospitals, clinical labs, doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and in many other health care settings.
Importance of nursing informatics
This specialty has become a very important one because of many reasons. One of those is reasons is the fact that the health care system has become increasingly complex and thus the need for technological advances and more automated data. Health care providers are also adopting expanding roles and the extent of knowledge for which they are held responsible requires complete access to patient health records in real time. With real time access to patient information, less time is spent documenting and processing the data. The time saved is used to provide direct care to patients.
Nurse informatics usually work in clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities,physician’s offices, consulting firms, schools of nursing, ambulatory care and in organizations that develop and sell health care information systems. They hold titles/ positions like clinical informatics coordinator, techie nurse, director of clinical informatics, clinical analysts, research informaticists and manager of informatics among others.
What the nurse informaticist does in determined by the place of employment. If for instance he or she is working in acute care, he or she acts as a liaison between the IT department and nursing. In nursing schools, the informaticist works with hybrid and web based courses. He or she may be charged with putting courses up on the internet and helping the faculty in selecting what should be put up on web support sites. This professional also helps in selecting the suitable system for electronic health records. These professionals do not usually provide hands on patient care. Most of them are involved in developing, improving, testing and training nurses to use new information systems.
To be hired as an informatics nurse, you must have some clinical experience. If you are hired by an organization that develops and markets health information systems or a vendor you may be away from home most of the time. This is because you will be required to install the systems and train clients on how to use them in multiple sites that are spread out in all regions.
The job outlook is very bright. The office of the National Coordinator of Health IT projects that at least fifty thousand health information technology jobs will be created in the coming 5 years following the approval of the HITECH act in 2009, and funding for adoption of EHR (Electronic Health Records) technology. In addition to that, it is expected that the overall employment of RN’s(registered nurses) will grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018. According to the government Bureau of Labor Statistics Most of this growth will emerge from technological advances in patient care.
The average salary that an informatics nurse can earn is higher than that of a regular nurse since nursing informatics is a specialized discipline. As of 2011, the salaries had increased by 16 percent over those paid in 2007.
In order for you to consider a career as an informatics nurse, you do not have to be a computer wizard. Everyone starts somewhere, so if you look at computers as problem solving tools rather than inconveniences then you are a suitable candidate for this career. In addition, if you are considering joining the nurse informatics career whether in an education, administrative or clinical setting you should be proud because you will be working in one of the most advanced professions in the health care industry in terms of technology.