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A nurse in protective eyewear gazes at a network of connected nodes, symbolizing the complex data analysis involved in nursing informatics.

What Is Nursing Informatics

5 min readJuly, 05 2023

Minutes count when nurses provide patient care. Efficiency begins with accurate patient health information. An electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR) system offers the ability to quickly access and review accurate and secure patient health information. That is if the organization's technology allows nurses to access that information efficiently.

Nurses understand when information is necessary for providing clinical care to their patients. That's where the role of nursing informatics comes in. Nursing informatics bridges the gap between health care's clinical and technological perspectives. Nurses should advocate for the innovative use of nursing informatics while always keeping sight of their focus on patient safety and privacy. 

What Is Informatics in Nursing? 

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. This data approach to patient care enhances the clinical experience for health care providers and patients.

What Skills and Education Are Required for an Informatics Nurse?

First and foremost, it's necessary to be a registered nurse (RN) to work in nursing informatics. Most organizations prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and some may prefer a master's degree in health informatics or a similar field. 

Some universities offer courses or certificate programs to develop the required technical skills, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC). An active RN license, at least two years of nursing experience, and 30 hours of continuing education in nursing informatics are required to take the ANCC exam.

Essential informatics nurse skills include:

  • Clinical experience and an understanding of the information needs of a health care setting
  • Proficiency in EHRs, data analytics, and other health care technologies
  • An ability to adapt to emerging technology and skills in data analysis and interpretation
  • Project management skills related to system implementation, upgrades, or process improvements
  • Strong communication skills to educate and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams regarding technology use
  • The ability to promote advocacy for nursing ethics and patient safety and privacy

What Are the Common Applications of Nursing Informatics?

An informatics nurse works in various settings to aid in using information systems. They may find ways to optimize an organization's current EHR system.

The role of the informatics nurse can vary depending upon the health care setting and the organization, but it's rooted in system design and implementation, education, research, and quality improvements.

Common Roles in Nursing Informatics Include:

  • Nursing Informatics Specialist. This person may be in charge of information technology solutions and educating nurses. They may also work as an executive or analyst. The informatics nurse possesses a strong understanding of both nursing and technology. Tasks may also include ensuring the integrity and security of health care data.
  • Clinical Informatics Nurse. This role works to optimize the use of EHRs and other clinical systems, customize workflows, and identify opportunities for process improvement. If this is a leadership role, such as a chief nursing informatics officer (CNIO), tasks may include strategizing and identifying trends to develop a vision and plan for implementing informatics.
  • Informatics Nurse Consultant. A consultant may assist with system selection, project management, and workflow redesign. The informatics nurse consultant provides guidance and support as organizations implement health technology systems. 

What Is the Value of Nursing Informatics in Health Care?

Two nurses, one holding a tablet, discuss patient care, exemplifying the use of informatics in nursing to improve healthcare delivery. Background shows peers in discussion.

Nursing time is expensive. When nursing informatics can improve data handling, it makes it easier for nurses to provide quality patient care more efficiently and effectively. 

Other benefits of nursing informatics include:

  • Improved patient care and outcomes. Optimized EHRs can allow nurses and other health care providers to quickly glean patient information if data is collected, analyzed, and shared effectively.
  • Enhanced patient safety. More accurate documentation and better access to patient information may minimize medical errors and improve communication between health care providers and patients. 
  • Streamlined workflow. Improved efficiency and simpler workloads reduce the time and frustration that nurses may have with administrative burdens, allowing more time for patient care.
  • Research and quality improvements. Access to timely, correct data and the ability to analyze it can support research, quality improvement initiatives, and innovation. These efforts may assist in implementing evidence-based practice.
  • Virtual care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing informatics stepped up to implement and support more telehealth and virtual health care platforms.
  • Data-driven decision making. Access to real-time data and analytics can allow for better-informed decisions and proactive care interventions. 

Nursing informatics is a fast-growing field that plays a vital role in leveraging technology and data to transform health care delivery, enhance patient outcomes, and advance the nursing profession. This nursing role bridges a health care organization's systems, nursing staff, and providers, including nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives. Incorporating informatics in nursing offers valuable input into how technological systems should be designed and implemented from a nursing perspective.


Images sourced from Getty Images

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