RN-MSN Programs as a Path to Becoming a Nurse Informaticist

Nursing informatics involves discovering new solutions that improve patient outcomes, lower costs, and create new tools for improving the nursing practice. This nursing profession integrates nursing science, cognitive science, information science, and computer science to identify, collect, process, and manage data and information designed to support:

  • Nursing practice
  • Administration
  • Education
  • Research
  • The expansion of nursing knowledge

The development, analysis, and evaluation of nursing informatics are augmented by technology that is desined to support and enhance the management of patient care.

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Jobs in Nursing Informatics

Nurse informaticists are high-tech nursing specialists who serve in a variety of professional roles, such as:

  • Medical informatics coordinator
  • Systems analyst
  • Senior consultant
  • Project manager
  • Director
  • Applications manager
  • Clinical solutions specialist

Nurse informaticists analyze nursing information requirements, design system alternatives, manage information technology, identify and implement user-trainer strategies, and evaluate the effectiveness of information systems in health care.

As such, these nursing professionals serve as leaders in the conceptualization, research, and design of computer-based information systems within healthcare organizations and within the informatics industry.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines nurse informaticists as:

  • Expert nursing clinicians
  • Expert analytical and critical thinkers
  • Experts in patient care delivery workflow and automated documentation
  • Experts in utilizing and implementing the nursing process
  • Excellent project managers

The HIMSS also recognizes that nurse informaticists impact the nursing process through:

  • Standardized documentation
  • Information management
  • Process re-engineering
  • Research and evidence collection

The work of nurse informaticists:

  • Promotes and facilitates access to resource and references
  • Enhances the continuity of care
  • Improves relationships between providers and recipients of healthcare
  • Enables cost savings
  • Accomplishes productivity goals


MSN Degrees in Nursing Informatics

The increased reliance on healthcare systems and information technology has undoubtedly encouraged the growth of nursing informatics and nursing informatics specialists, many of whom are graduate-prepared. According to the HIMSS, 35 percent of all nursing informaticists possessed a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), as of 2011, an increase from 33 percent in 2007.

MSN programs in nursing informatics provide study in clinical information systems, strategic planning, project management, and a number of technologies. A natural progression to the nurse informaticist profession involves first achieving an RN license and gaining valuable clinical experience and then pursuing an MSN in Nursing Informatics.

RN to MSN Nursing Informatics Program Features

Because many RNs do not initially complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) as part of their pre-licensure education, they must successfully complete a BSN before pursuing an MSN. But thanks to a growing number of RN to MSN programs, specially designed programs for RNs that combine the coursework and clinical requirements of both the BSN and the MSN, RNs pursuing their MSN in nursing informatics have more options than ever.

RN to MSN programs, many of which are offered online, are generally completed in about 2 to 3 years because students are able to transfer much of their undergraduate coursework to satisfy many general education and prerequisite requirements.

The graduate coursework in an RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics includes study in:

  • Database systems in healthcare
  • Introduction to health informatics
  • Health information exchange standards
  • Health information technology
  • Cognitive informatics in healthcare

An RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics often culminates in an individualized practicum in a healthcare organization, during which students complete a project under the mentorship of an experienced clinician in nursing informatics.

Professional Certification for Nurse Informaticists

Although not a requirement, many nurse informaticists choose to earn professional certification, which serves as a mark of professional excellence and accomplishment.

MSN graduates are eligible for the following professional certifications:

    • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Informatics Nursing Certification
      • Eligible candidates who possess a graduate degree in nursing informatics must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing, at least two years of experience as an RN, at least 30 hours of continuing education in informatics nursing in the past three years, and at least 1,000 hours in informatics nursing in the last 3 years.



MSN Nurse Informaticist Salary Statistics and Resources

According to a 2014 HIMSS salary survey, the average, annual salary for nurse informaticists was $100,717, up from $98,703 in 2011. The highest paid nurse informaticists, according to the HIMSS survey, were those in consulting firms, who earned an average salary of $141,432, followed by those working in PPO/HMO organizations, who earned an average, annual salary of $122,567.

Nurse informaticists in the Pacific region reported the highest annual salary in 2014, at $117,629, followed by nurse informaticists in New England, at $109,154.

Individuals interested in becoming nurse informaticists can find valuable information about this profession through the following resources:

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