With advances in technology, a lot of new careers have started to emerge and this has required the creation of new degree programs as well. One example is the masters in nursing informatics. This career is of a technical nature, rather than a clinical care one, but it aims to improve clinical care at the same time. When data and information systems are managed properly, fewer medical errors are made and patient confidentiality and security are improved.
Nursing informatics is a highly specialized field that incorporates information technology and computer science with nursing. The career is still developing and growing and requires people who are analytically-minded, excellent listeners, committed to learning, able to think outside of the box, and innovative. Nursing informatics professionals are problem solvers, critical thinkers, excellent communicators, and have great decision-making and judgment skills.
The field of nursing informatics is important not just in large medical facilities and hospitals. These professionals can be found in global health, pharmacology, and public health facilities, and equally in smaller health care provision centers. It is a role of leadership, in which you will develop and implement strategies and policies, working towards improving patient care as a whole. According to the 2017 HIMSS Survey, 71% of all health care organizations now employ Chief Nursing Informatics Officers or other clinical IT leaders. Let’s take a look at five of these types of professions.
#1 Informatics Nurse
Informatics nurses focus on implementing the right computer applications to improve overall patient outcomes. They support and identify software programs as they relate to patient care, while also liaising between medical staff and software vendors. They are usually RNs (registered nurses), which means that they also have clinical experience. As an informatics nurse, they train medical staff on using new systems, troubleshoot these systems, update them, and more. Additionally, they focus on making sure that the software in place is fully aligned with appropriate regulations.
They must have strong communication, organizational, and professional skills. They usually work in offices and have very few physical requirements, as opposed to RNs who spend a lot of time on their feet. They do, however, have to work unsociable hours, as health care facilities are generally open 24/7. Essentially, they liaise between staff, vendors, and IT departments. They are educators and trainers and they focus on finding the best IT systems around.
According to Payscale.com, informatics nurses had a median salary of $76,883 per year as of September 5, 2017.
#2 Chief Nursing Officer
Chief nursing officers (CNOs) direct nursing activities in line with the facility’s policies and procedures. They have a strong emphasis on safety policies to ensure that patient care is of the highest possible quality, while also working together with other administrators to develop new patient strategies, including emergency policies. Furthermore, CNOs have administrative duties, such as managing the budget.
CNOs are highly educated individuals and must continuously take part in furthering their education. They also educate others within their health care facility in terms of new rules and regulations. They use their skills and knowledge to further develop nurses and improve their facility as a whole, and patient care outcomes in particular. Usually, a CNO reports directly to a hospital administrator.
Usually, you will require licensure as a CNO, although this may depend on the type of health care facility you work for. CNOs ensure that their facility is fully compliant with federal and state regulations, and they educate other staff on these requirements. They ensure that administrative departments are managed properly and they liaise between management and staff to ensure that the quality of service is as high as possible.
According to Payscale.com, CNOs had a median salary of $124,104 per year as of September 5, 2017.
#3 Nurse Case Manager
Nurse case managers have an administrative role in which they determine the health care needs of patients, and that these are being met properly. They can work in industrial environments, nursing homes, hospitals, and other such facilities. This is one of the few roles for someone with a nursing informatics degree in which the focus remains strongly on clinical care.
Nurse case managers network with physicians, other hospitals, and health insurance companies to ensure that patients are able to get the best quality care. Sometimes, they may even assess patients directly to create a plan for treatment. This includes nutrition, medication, and exercise. Developing care plans and ensuring that they are followed is of key importance, in the same way as entering these plans and its outcomes on relevant computer systems. They also focus on utilization management for specific caseloads.
According to Payscale.com, nurse case managers had a median salary of $69,802 per year as of September 5, 2017.
#4 Nursing Manager
Nursing managers are usually employed by medical clinics and hospitals. In this role, you will supervise a full nursing workforce, ensuring that they deliver the highest quality care. Your responsibility is to make sure that regulatory requirements, practices, policies, guidelines, and standards are followed properly. You will have very little direct contact with patients. Rather, your focus is on the staff itself and on collaboration with physicians and families of patients.
Commonly, nursing managers focus on a specific area of care, such as pediatrics, ICU, or orthopedics. They ensure that nurses are scheduled properly, and that they receive regular performance reviews. They also develop new procedures, policies, and guidelines within health care facilities, as well as systems to support and improve patient care.
According to Payscale.com, nursing managers had a median salary of 83,298 per year as of September 5, 2017.
#5 Clinical Informatics Specialist
Clinical informatics specialists work within large medical facilities where a lot of records and other types of data are available. They create new user interfaces in line with regulatory standards and ensure that clinical staff are properly trained on these systems. They monitor and review these systems to ensure that they remain relevant and compliant across the board. In many facilities, clinical information specialists are heavily involved with digitizing the information that continues to be available in paper form, for instance in the facility’s archives. They train staff on how to add the information to the system, but also how to retrieve it and work with it.
As a clinical informatics specialist, you must often work unsociable hours to ensure that all staff within the facility are properly trained on using the system. You will plan, coordinate, and consult on information systems and how those integrate within the facility as a whole.
According to Payscale.com, clinical informatics specialists had a median salary of $77,156 per year as of September 5, 2017.
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- 2017 HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.himss.org/sites/himssorg/files/FileDownloads/2017%20LEADERSHIP%20and%20WORKFORCE%20SURVEY_Summary_Findings_Final.pdf
- Informatics Nurse Salary. (2017, Sep. 5). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Informatics_Nurse/Salary
- Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Salary. (2017, Sep. 5). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Chief_Nursing_Officer_(CNO)/Salary
- Nurse Case Manager Salary. (2017, Sep. 5). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Nurse_Case_Manager/Salary
- Nursing Manager Salary. (2017, Sep. 5). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Nursing_Manager/Salary
- Clinical Informatics Specialist Salary. (2017, Sep. 5). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Informatics_Specialist/Salary