Healthcare is a profession that has long been on the rise due to the demand for expert health professionals. Qualified nurses, in particular, are treasured by institutes and patients alike. However, despite the need for an expert opinion, healthcare has long since moved from being a manually operated profession alone. Just like every other profession, healthcare is also making way for the one thing that has eased a million tasks worldwide – technology!
Technology has always been a part of healthcare, but it is now in use in ways we’d have never imagined a few decades ago. It is now possible to make appointments online, have consultations online, and have your medicines delivered to you. The same technology has also made it easier for hospitals to store patients’ data, maintain inventories and manage information. In other words, hospitals now use informatics.
What Does Nursing Have to Do with Technology?
Well, there is indeed a connection between nursing and technology, and that connection is nursing informatics. The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) defines nursing informatics as the “science and practice that integrates nursing, its information and knowledge, with information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities worldwide.” Thus, nurse informaticians work as chief nursing officers, chief information officers, software engineers and developers of communication and information technologies to advance healthcare.
Apart from having the qualifications and functions of a nurse, some of the functions that nurse informaticians have to perform are:
- Training, education, and support to users of the systems in the workplace
- Maintenance of patients’ records in the systems with a focus on security
- Systems development, where the systems are customized or updated or new systems created as per the needs of the workspace
- Quality control
- Systems’ maintenance and optimization
- Project management, such as maintaining patients’ records or managing clinical/hospital improvements
- Implementation and management of communication technologies so that all workflow needs are met
- Data and knowledge management
- Workflow redesign and process improvement
- Disseminate information to result in better decision making
How Do You Pursue Nursing Informatics?
Nurses interested in pursuing nursing informatics are expected to have their nursing degree and a registered nursing license. However, some nurse informaticians hold a degree in informatics instead of nursing, which is also accepted as an eligible criterion in many institutes. Many institutes also look for a master’s degree in Health Informatics, Healthcare Management or Quality Management. Post their degrees, nurses need to be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Centroleer (ANCC), or from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Additionally, good communication and project management skills are also looked for.
What Career Choices Are Available?
With the advent of technology, Nursing Informatics Jobs have risen in popularity and demand. Nursing informatics specialists can fill a variety of roles, such as:
Chief Medical Information Officer: A CMIO’s role may vary from organization to organization, but largely involves strategic planning, education and curriculum design, data mining and quality reporting, informatics education and platform development, and capacity building.
Health Informatics Consultant: Health Informatics Consultants are responsible for the supervision of clinical application systems and databases that are used to track and maintain patients’ records.
Nursing Informatics Specialist: Nursing Informatics Specialists are required to manage and communicate data to patients, healthcare providers, doctors and nurses.
System Administrator: System administrators manage, update and customize systems, especially in the case of new systems that need to be tested and may have issues that require troubleshooting.
Nursing informatics is a growing field that offers specialists to be at the meeting point of technology and healthcare, and therefore the front row seats to many new innovations in both fields. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15% increase in the availability of information technician jobs by 2024! Nursing informatics is paving the way for future healthcare. The field is growing in demand and popularity, with nursing informatics specialists earning anywhere between $40,000-106,000. Apart from the great pay, it also offers amazing opportunities and numerous career paths that help to play a role in developing healthcare solutions and integration of medicine and technology.
For those with a dual passion for nursing and technology, nursing informatics is a perfect choice!