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As a specialty, nursing informatics is a branch of IT in healthcare that incorporates the expansion of nursing knowledge, research, education, administration, data management, information organization, data collection, data analysis, computer science, and nursing science. It amalgamates various fields in IT, research, and healthcare to develop a comprehensive specialty that trains all-rounded nurses (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). Whether at an advanced or basic level, nursing informatics supports practice in all sites and settings, as well as all nursing specialties. Nursing informatics includes the development of structures, processes, tools, and applications that help manage data required to enhance care delivery.
Nursing informatics has several roles. As a project manager, the Informatic Nursing Specialist (INS) is responsible for planning and implementing projects; as a consultant, the INS gives advice and recommendations in the area of expertise. As an educator, the INS develops educational materials; as a researcher, the specialist conducts research to build new informatics knowledge. Other roles include product developer, advocate/policy developer, entrepreneur, outcomes manager, and clinical analyst specialist (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018).
To qualify as a nursing informatics specialist, a person requires a bachelor’s degree (minimum academic requirement). A reputable and recognized BSN or RN course can propel an already registered nurse to cultivate the prerequisite competencies required to become a nursing informatics specialist (Mastrian, 2021). To develop tech-driven skills to excel in a nursing informatics role, it is advisable for one to enroll in a few technology or IT courses. Currently, many employers are encouraging applicants with advanced degrees, such as an MSc or PhD in nursing. One must be licensed by their respective state of practice (Mastrian, 2021). Licensing is only possible after completing the necessary degree from an approved nursing program. There are two possible certification options for nurses who want to specialize in NI; the first one is required to satisfy the board of examiners of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the second one is sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018).
Mastrian, K. G. (2021). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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Nursing informatics supports the nursing practice and nursing care delivery through the use of technology in the management and processing of data and information. It combines and translates patient data to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and accessibility of care. This field provides nursing students with an understanding of technology tools and their application in the science of nursing. Nursing informatics encompasses concepts from information and computer technologies integrated in nursing practice to improve patient care and the nursing profession (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2021).
According to Booth et al. (2021), the role of nursing informatics includes aiding to drive the application of technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs) in healthcare. It has helped to bridge the gap between healthcare and the use of technology. Its main priority is to focus on maintaining patient safety by impacting innovation. It supports patients, healthcare workers, and other decision-makers to achieve the desired outcomes through the use of information and technology. Nursing informatics uses technological data to monitor systems, programs, initiatives of patient care.
There are a variety of skills and qualifications that are required in this field. Eligibility requires a bachelor’s nursing degree or higher or in relevant field, should complete 30 hours of informatics nursing education within the last 3 years, and complete 2 years of practice as a registered nurse. Those who want to have advanced roles as nursing informaticists should hold degrees higher than a bachelor’s degree. The certification requirements are as follows one Should currently hold an active RN license in the United States. According to Monsen et al. (2019) nursing informatics certification is acquired from either Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) or American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). HIMSS offers two types of certification. These are Certified Associate in Healthcare Information Management System (CAHIMS) and Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS).
CAHIMS is offered to people who do not have a background education in nursing but have professional knowledge in healthcare information and management while CPHIMS is awarded to individuals who have background knowledge in nursing and they have advanced knowledge and understanding of informatics nursing (Monsen et.al, 2019). The ANCC offers the Registered Nurse Board Certified (RN-BC) type of certification that shows registered nurses have competency in nursing informatics. Meeting the education and certification requirements show that individuals are well informed and prepared for the next step in their nursing informatics career.
Booth, R., Strudwick, G., McMurray, J., Chan, R., Cotton, K., & Cooke, S. (2021). The future of nursing informatics in a digitally-enabled world. In Introduction to Nursing Informatics (pp. 395-417). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58740-6_16
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. (2021). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Monsen, K. A., Bush, R. A., Jones, J., Manos, E. L., Skiba, D. J., & Johnson, S. B. (2019). Alignment of American association of colleges of nursing graduate-level nursing informatics competencies with American medical informatics association health informatics core competencies. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 37(8), 396-404. https://doi.org/10.1097/CIN.0000000000000537
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