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What Does it Mean to Specialize in Nursing Informatics?

Nursing Informatics CareersNursing informatics has become a critical part of our healthcare system. As hospitals and facilities increasingly adopt healthcare technologies, they are relying on nurses to be the lynchpin in using and applying these technologies to improve patient care.

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics is a specialty that combines nursing and technology. The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines nursing informatics as the integration of “nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice.”

 What do Nurse Informatics Do?

Nurse informatics work with computer systems and patient data to monitor trends and analyze any errors. Many healthcare individuals associate the field of nurse informatics as having two types of roles: the clinician who uses the health information technology, and the specialist who creates, facilitates, tests, and implements new information technology. However, these have continued to expand  to include roles like chief nursing information officer, educator, researcher, software engineer, policy developer, business owner, clinical analyst, or informatics nurse specialist.

How to Get a Nursing Informatics Certification

To be eligible for a nursing informatics certification you must complete the following:

  • Have a bachelors, masters or doctoral degree
  • Have practiced as a registered nurse for two years
  • Completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing informatics
  • Have met one of the following requirements:
    • Practiced a minimum of 2,000 hours in informatics nursing
    • Practiced a minimum of 1,000 hours in informatics nursing and in addition, completed at least 12 semester hours of credit that are part of a graduate-level nursing informatics program
    • Completed a graduate degree program in nursing informatics

Once you have completed the above you can take the certification exam through your MSN/DNP program, through the ANCC or other institutions. Your certification will last up to five years.

Cause of Growth in Nursing Informatics

Federal regulations require that all hospitals and facilities adopt technologies and systems that support Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR). The rate of adoption continues to grow as institutions strive to meet these federal requirements. To provide context for the magnitude of what this means, the global EHR market is said to have a projected growth to $30.4 billion by 2023.

Global electronic health record market is projected to attain a size of $30.4 billion by 2023, the market is mainly driven by the increasing need for advanced healthcare information system, growing investments by healthcare IT players, rising demand for better healthcare facilities, and increasing government initiatives. (EHR Market 2016)

This need has created unique opportunities for nurses, who are the ones at the forefront of implementing and using this record keeping technology.  Nurse informaticists play an important role in evolving these technologies within healthcare organizations. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual surveys reiterate that the nurses are important in ensuring user acceptance and adoption of health IT systems. (Greusner 2016)

Career Demand for Nursing Informatics

Technically, informatics nurses are specialized registered nurses (RNs.) The demand for RNs will increase 19% between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Increasingly, it is challenging to enter informatics directly as there is limited on-the-job training and a background in nursing is required for these positions. The majority of nurse informaticists have experience in nursing and then go through formal graduate education to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing or Doctorate in nursing, specializing in informatics.

The need for nurses with informatics knowledge, as well as certifications in nursing informatics continues to expand. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) says the role and responsibilities for these nursing specialists continue to grow, citing that more than 60 percent of HIMSS survey respondents have either a Masters or Doctorate.

 In addition, there is an increased need for nursing informatics leaders. In 2016, a survey reported that there was a 250% increase in the number of respondents holding the title of CNIO between 2011 and 2016. It also found that the role is extending beyond informatics and institutions and into the broader corporate realm. (Kern)

Taking Advantage of this Opportunity

As technology continues to shape the future of healthcare, the need for nurse informaticists will continue to grow. This need creates a world of new opportunities for nurses ready to incorporate technology and continue pushing towards improved processes, data, and patient outcomes.


2018 HIMSS U.S. Leadership and Workforce Survey. Retrieved from:

Electronic health records solution market to exhibit 5.4% CAGR from 2015 to 2023, Latin America poised for fastest growth. (2016, Aug 16). PR Newswire Retrieved from

American Nurses Association. Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice. Washington, DC: American Nurses Association; 2015.

Cassano, Cristina. 2014. The Right Balance – Technology and Patient Care. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics: OJNI; Chicago Vol. 18, Iss. 3, (Oct 2014).

Greusner, Vera. 2015. Informatics Nursing Key to Population Health Management. EHR Intelligence. April 14, 2015. Retrieved from:

Kern, Christine. 2017. Nursing Informatics Continues to Grow, Survey Finds. Health IT Outcomes. March 16. 2017. Retrieved from:

Nahm, Eun-Shim. 2016. The rewarding career of nursing informatics. American Nurse Today. August 2016 Vol. 11 No. 8. Retrieved from:

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