Nurse Informatics Specialist

NURSE INFORMATICS SPECIALISTS: Converging Nursing with Computer Science and Information Technology

The increasing complexity of patient care has urged the use of more efficient and secured information management system particularly for records management/health information systems management/computer-based patient records.  The utilization of computers and computer systems have reduced the amount of paperwork to almost paperless.  Because of this increasing importance of computers and information technology in the practice of professional nursing, the nursing informatics specialist (NIS) role has emerged.  It is therefore important to understand that this practice involves knowledge and skills of three fields: Nursing Science, Computer Science, and Information Technology.  The American Nurses Association has enumerated the specific functions of the NIS:

  • Theory development: contributes to the scientific base of nursing informatics
  • Analysis of information needs: identification of information that nurses need in order to accomplish their work; client care, education, administration, and research
  • Selection of computer systems: guides the user in making informed decisions related to the purchase of computer systems
  • Design of computer systems and customizations: collaborates with users and computer programmers to make decisions about how data will be displayed and accessed
  • Testing computer systems: check for proper functioning before they are made available for use in patient care.
  • Training users of computer systems: train on how the system works, the importance of accurate data entry, and how the system will benefit them, and more importantly how it will improve patient outcomes
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of computer systems: nurse informaticists are in the ideal position to evaluate effectiveness of computer systems
  • Ongoing maintenance and enhancements: ensure that computer systems function properly and explores possible enhancements to the system that will better serve the users and the patients
  • Identification of computer technologies that can benefit can benefit nursing: keep abreast in the changes in the fields of computers and information technology, including new hardware and software that will benefit the nurse and patient

As more and more healthcare facilities are transforming their systems into computers, there is an increasing demand in healthcare personnel to fulfill this.  NI specialists typically earn $49,090 – $95,194 annually which is actually higher than the salary of Staff Nurses in hospitals.  This has paved way for the increasing number of nursing informatics continuing education programs whether online or face-to-face because of the evident increasing number of those interested in this field.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization provides for the credential of Nurse Informaticists – RN-BC (Registered Nurse-Board Certified).  To be eligible for certification, the nurse must meet the following:

  1. Bachelors degree in nursing or higher degree in nursing
  2. Holder of a current license to practice
  3. At least 2 years full time practice as registered nurse
  4. Completed 30 hours of continuing education in informatics within the last 3 years
  5. Meet the required practice hours, any one of the following:
    • 2,000 hours in nursing informatics within the last three years
    • 1,000 hours in nursing informatics in the last three years and completed a minimum of 12 semester hours of academic credit in informatics courses which are a part of graduate level informatics program
    • Completed a graduate program in nursing informatics containing a minimum of 200 hours of faculty supervised practicum in informatics

The largest organization of nurse informatics specialists is the American Nursing Informatics Association-Capital Area Roundtable on informatics in Nursing (ANIA-CARING).  Its purpose is focused on the advancement of the field of nursing informatics through communication, education, research and professional activities.  In the Philippines, the recently established Philippine Nursing Informatics Association (PNIA) is spearheading the recognition of this specialized field of nursing practice.

Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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