What is Nursing Informatics?
Definition of Nursing Informatics
Nursing informatics is a specialty field that integrates clinical knowledge & nursing science with information science & communication technologies to improve the health of patients, families, and communities.
In practical terms, this means nursing informatics specialists are responsible for dealing with all kinds of healthcare information technologies & processes, including:
- Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems
- Implementation training & consulting
- Healthcare system design & development
- Ensuring data security & privacy
- Overseeing data infrastructures
- Information retrieval & presentation
- Process improvement & workflow (e.g. expediting patient test results)
- Data analysis (e.g. evaluating staffing needs)
- Actionable data science projects (e.g. improving patient safety)
Well-trained graduates work for:
- Hospitals & healthcare systems in mid-level and high-level positions (e.g. Chief Information Officer)
- Healthcare software companies, IT vendors, and analytics businesses
- IT consulting firms
- Federal agencies (e.g. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
- Public health organizations involved in data analysis, healthcare policy & research (e.g. CDC)
- Education providers (e.g. simulation learning centers)
- Insurance companies
- Biotech firms
- Colleges & universities (e.g. teaching and/or research)
Some entrepreneurial types even develop their own healthcare IT businesses.
Note: Want two straightforward ways to define the scope of practice? Have a look at the Test Content Outline of the ANCC’s Informatics Nursing (RN-BC) exam and the job responsibilities listed in HIMSS’s Nursing Informatics (NI) Workforce Survey.
Nursing Informatics Fields
The words “nursing informatics” encompass all kinds of healthcare-related disciplines. Here are some of the major duties associated with each field:
- Clinical Informatics: Employing your clinical RN experience and knowledge of IT solutions to serve medical providers in patient-based settings (e.g. hospitals, clinics & private practices).
- Consumer Health Informatics: Designing, building, and improving telemedicine systems that promote better health, monitor patients, and administer care.
- Educational Health Informatics: Collaborating with faculty to invent web-based courses, online learning communities & simulation scenarios and integrate technology into clinical courses.
- Public Health Informatics: Using community & population health data to develop innovative programs (e.g. public health information networks, biosurvelliance programs, immunization registries, etc.) and supply policymakers with research-based advice.
- Research Informatics: Attaining a doctoral degree to focus on a specific field of applied informatics research (e.g. impact of IT on health practices & outcomes; effectiveness of data communication technologies; methods of decision support for nurses; etc.).
We should point out that clinical informatics is the most popular field for nurses. Funding is now tied to patient outcomes, and many hospitals need to prove their worth through data.
- In 2017, almost two-thirds of Nursing Informatics (NI) Workforce Survey respondents worked at a hospital, a multi-facility health system, or at the corporate offices of a healthcare system.
- Half of the respondents worked at a Magnet-designated hospital.
But keep your mind open as you head into your studies. Certain fields (e.g. telemedicine) are expanding rapidly as technology matures.
Why Pursue a Nursing Informatics Degree?
Benefits of a Nursing Informatics MSN
First things first: You may not need an MSN to become a nurse informaticist—most job positions list the BSN as the baseline requirement. To improve their chances of hire, folks with a BSN sometimes earn a graduate certificate in nursing informatics instead of the more expensive graduate degree.
But since you’re on this site, we’re assuming you don’t have a BSN! If that’s the case, the RN to MSN Nursing Informatics program is going to be your most efficient option. It’s accelerated, it’s flexible, and it may help you earn a bachelor’s degree along the way. Other benefits of MSN program include:
- Advanced Nursing Knowledge: Most MSN programs in nursing informatics have a core of advanced practice subjects (e.g. nursing leadership, policy, evidence-based practice, regulatory issues, quality improvement & safety, etc.). This kind of interdisciplinary knowledge is critical when you’re tackling complex healthcare problems. You’re not locked into an “IT bubble.”
- Career-Specific Training: The right MSN program will include concentration courses in your specific area of interest (e.g. consumer health informatics). Better yet, you’ll be encouraged to apply your training to a practicum project under the supervision of a preceptor. You gain relevant work experience and networking contacts.
- Long-Term Prestige: An MSN is often the first step on the road to major leadership positions. If you’re aspiring to an IT-related management position (e.g. CIO, CNIO, Clinical Informatics Architect, etc.), a master’s degree is a qualification worth having.
Talk to your mentors, chat with alumni, and check out the duties listed in current job descriptions before you make a decision about pursuing a master’s degree in nursing informatics. If you do opt for the MSN, you’ll find there’s a lot of market demand for your skills.
Note: Nursing informatics programs do not lead to APRN state licensure. If you’re interested in graduate training for a specific clinical field (e.g. NP specialties, CNM, CNS), you will need to look elsewhere on this site!
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics Programs
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics: Overview
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics programs are designed for RNs who have a diploma or an associate’s degree (e.g. ASN/ADN) and want to pursue an MSN or MS. There are also RN to MSN Nursing Informatics programs for RNs who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.
There are two types of nursing informatics master’s programs in our directory:
- RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics: An informatics program that includes a general advanced practice core and a number of concentration courses in informatics fields. This is the most common academic offering.
- RN to MSN in Nursing Leadership: Concentration in Nursing Informatics: A leadership-focused program with a concentration or track in nursing informatics. The coursework may slant toward topics such as leadership development, innovative change, and healthcare management.
Before you make a final decision, take some time to dig into the curricula. Because leadership & nursing informatics degrees deal with indirect patient care, they often have similar core coursework. You may find there’s no real difference between certain programs!
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics: Admissions
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics programs share the same general prerequisites as many other RN to MSN advanced nursing programs that deal with indirect patient care (e.g. RN to MSN Nursing Administration Programs and RN to MSN/MBA Programs). You’ll typically need to have:
- A diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (e.g. ADN or ASN) or a bachelor’s degree in another field from a regionally accredited institution
- A current RN license
- At least one year of full-time RN clinical experience
- A baseline undergraduate GPA (usually 2.75-3.0)—some schools will also ask for GMAT or GRE scores, especially if your GPA is not very high
- Letters of professional/academic reference
You can improve your chances of admission by demonstrating your expertise & enthusiasm for healthcare technologies. Check out our section on nursing informatics careers for ideas.
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics: Undergraduate Phase
Before you can start work on the MSN, you’ll be required to earn good grades on upper-level undergraduate courses through your chosen college or university.
The length of this phase will depend on what qualification you currently hold (e.g. ASN vs. non-nursing bachelor’s degree), but most coursework takes 6 months-2 years to complete.
Examples of prerequisite undergraduate courses can include:
- Conceptual bases of professional nursing practice
- Concepts & theories in nursing
- Nursing research & evidence-based practice
- Nursing leadership & management
- Community health nursing
Schools of Nursing almost always list statistics & health assessment as standard prerequisites for the MSN. Schools are usually willing to accept transfer credits or a health assessment portfolio for these two courses.
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics: MSN Curriculum
After you’ve finished your undergraduate courses, you can start to tackle the MSN. Every School of Nursing has their own unique take on informatics, but a number of universities now try to align their curricula with informatics competencies laid out by HIMSS’s Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER).
For example, a sample curriculum might include:
- Core Courses: ~6-8 courses in advanced practice subjects (e.g. leadership; evidence-based practice; health policy & politics; advanced nursing research; ethics & law; etc.).
- Concentration Courses: ~3-6 courses in informatics (e.g. administrative informatics; healthcare database systems; IT project management; data management in healthcare; managing the nursing informatics life cycle; human-technology interactions in healthcare; etc.).
Informatics concentration courses vary widely between schools, so please check the curriculum to make sure you’re acquiring the skills you need. Some programs have a true technical feel; others are primarily focused on administrative & management issues. You can also look to see who’s teaching the courses (i.e. nursing faculty or IT experts).
In addition to traditional classroom work, almost all MSN nursing informatics programs include a capstone or scholarly project and practicums.
Note: We’ve spotted one or two RN to MSN programs that include the 3 fundamental courses of clinical practice—advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment—but they are rare.
RN to MSN Nursing Informatics: MSN Clinical Hours / Practicums
A lot of MSN programs in informatics try to include at least 200 practicum hours in the curriculum. That’s the minimum experience requirement for folks who have completed a graduate program in informatics nursing and wish to apply for ANCC’s Informatics Nursing certification.
For your practicum, you might be expected to design an informatics project that incorporates current theory & research, implement it, and evaluate its success. The University of Kansas suggests talking to institutions about:
- Implementation projects for new systems
- Process improvement projects
- Enhancement projects for current healthcare technology systems
- New performance measures
- Quality improvement department goals
- Workflow mapping
- Specification gathering
- Project presentations to end users or leadership
Common practicum sites include hospitals, clinic informatics departments, quality improvement departments, county health departments, EHR vendors, private providers’ offices, insurance companies, and the like.
Students are usually expected to arrange their own sites & preceptors, but talk to the program coordinator about your options. Some universities (especially ones in metro areas) have close ties with major hospitals and healthcare systems. These institutions often desperately need IT help.
Online RN to MSN Nursing Informatics Programs
Are Online RN to MSN Nursing Informatics Programs Available?
Yes. In fact, because this is a tech-heavy specialty that deals with indirect patient care, the majority of listings in our directory are Online RN to MSN Nursing Informatics programs. And even the on-campus ones are usually hybrid.
Here’s how a typical RN to MSN distance learning program is structured:
- Undergraduate Phase: Just like an on-campus degree, you’ll be required to earn good grades in upper-level undergraduate courses from the university. These courses are almost always offered online, so you can work while you study.
- Graduate Phase: You’ll be able to take all (or almost all) of your standard MS or MSN courses online. You can fulfill your practicums in your home community, but—as we mentioned—you may be expected to find the preceptor and arrange the setting. You’ll also have to pay for transit costs to the site.
Occasionally, a School of Nursing will ask you to visit the campus for a beginning orientation or a weekend residency, but a number of nursing informatics programs omit this aspect altogether.
Online RN to MSN Nursing Informatics Programs & State Authorization
Online RN to MSN Nursing Informatics programs are not designed to lead to advance practice state licensure. That means many of the regulations involving distance learning and clinical practicums disappear. In other words, you should be eligible for a number of online programs, regardless of your state of residence.
On the other hand, because of interstate agreements, Schools of Nursing may still be unable to accept certain out-of-state MSN applicants. You can usually find details about these issues on program websites or the school’s State Authorization or State Regulation page.
For example, in 2018:
- South University’s RN to MSN with a Specialization in Nursing Informatics program website noted that the program was not available to residents of Alabama, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Washington D.C.
- West Coast University’s Online RN to MSN in Nursing Informatics program website stated that nursing distance education is offered through the Orange County, CA campus and may not be available to residents in all states.
State authorization rules change frequently, so it’s always best to check with the program coordinator for clarification.
Nurse Informatics Certification
Overview of Nursing Informatics Certification
You can qualify for the RN-BC in a number of ways (e.g. extensive work experience), but you’ll notice that the ANCC is happy to accept candidates with a graduate degree in informatics nursing and 200 hours of practicums. So make sure your MSN degree contains that magic number. Many RN to MSN Nurse Informatics programs will make a point of preparing you for ANCC certification.
The other common certification is the CPHIMS from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). This is a credential for more experienced professionals who have a few years of informatics work under their belt.
Leaders in the field might have both credentials. For example:
- Devon Ray RN, BSN, RN-BC, CPHIMS, Director of Nursing Informatics
- Penelope Garcia RN, MSN, RN-BC, CPHIMS, Clinical Informatics Architect
- Eileen Hubble DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMS, Vice President of Clinical Informatics
Note: FHIMS/FHIMSS stands for HIMSS’s Fellow in Healthcare Information & Management Systems.
Nursing Informatics Certifications
Informatics Nursing certification is a specialty credential offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It demonstrates that you have entry-level clinical knowledge and skills in nursing informatics. To gain it, you must:
- Hold a current, active RN license.
- Earn a bachelor’s or a graduate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
- Have the equivalent of 2 years full-time work experience as an RN.
- Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in informatics nursing within the last 3 years.
- Have fulfilled one of the following criteria:
- Have practiced a minimum of 2,000 hours in informatics nursing within the last 3 years
- Have practiced a minimum of 1,000 hours in informatics nursing in the last 3 years + completed a minimum of 12 semester hours of academic credit in informatics courses that are part of a graduate-level informatics nursing program
- Have completed a graduate program in informatics nursing with a minimum of 200 hours of faculty-supervised practicums in informatics nursing.
- Take & pass the Informatics Nursing Board Certification (BC) exam. It’s a computer-based exam with 175 questions (150 scored + 25 pretest questions that are not scored). The 3 major categories are: Foundations of Practice; System Design Life Cycle; and Data Management & Healthcare Technology.
- Keep your RN-BC certification up-to-date through continuing education. Certification is valid for 5 years.
Healthcare Informatics Certifications
CAHIMS is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). It’s aimed at emerging professionals who may or may not have experience within the industry. To gain it, you must:
- Have a high school diploma (or the equivalent).
- Take & pass the CAHIMS exam. It’s a 2-hour exam with 115 multiple-choice questions, 100 of which are scored. The exam covers 3 main areas: General (e.g. Technology Environment); Healthcare Information and Systems Management; and Administration.
- Keep your CAHIMS certification up-to-date through continuing education or successful re-examiniation. Certification is valid for 3 years.
CPHIMS is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). It’s a credential for experienced healthcare information and management systems professionals. To gain it, you must:
- Earn an accredited bachelor’s degree + have 5 years of information & management systems experience (3 of those years in a healthcare setting) or earn an accredited graduate degree or higher + 3 years of information & management systems experience (2 of those years in a healthcare setting).
- Take & pass the CPHIMS exam. It’s a 2-hour exam with 115 multiple-choice questions, 100 of which are scored. The exam covers 3 main areas: General (e.g. Healthcare Environment); Systems; and Administration.
- Keep your CPHIMS certification up-to-date through continuing education or successful re-examiniation. Certification is valid for 3 years.
Nursing Informatics Jobs
Nursing Informatics Careers
A graduate degree may help you win an interview, but you will need clinical and IT experience to secure a job. Employers will choose an RN with a BSN & significant IT skills over an RN with an MSN & little experience every time!
To buff up the IT portion of your résumé, you may wish to:
- Become a Super-User: Super-users are clinical care providers who have additional training on a specific technology (e.g. EHR system). With that knowledge in hand, they can then provide IT teaching & support to their colleagues (e.g. during a go-live/implementation phase). A lot of informatics professionals enter the field as super-users.
- Earn CAHIMS Certification: This is a “starter” qualification in health management & information systems offered by HIMSS. You only need a high school diploma to apply. We outline the exam procedure in our section on nursing informatics certifications.
- Join (or Start) an Informatics Committee: As one nurse pointed out, these have lots of different names, so you may need to ask around. Being on a committee/taskforce will give you inside knowledge of the field, as well as some of the real-world challenges involved in clinical information systems.
- Volunteer for IT-Related Projects: Ask the IT Department if you can road-test new healthcare technologies, software & programs. Offer to build IT solutions and online tools for your colleagues. Become the liaison person for vendor organizations & software companies.
- Write for Informatics Publications: Submit white papers, articles, and opinion pieces to healthcare journals and newsletters. You can start with the Journal of Informatics Nursing (JIN), but remember that publications in your specific field (e.g. pediatrics) will also be interested in IT perspectives.
- Train in Epic & Consider Epic Certification: Because Epic is one of the largest EHR systems on the market, it’s helpful to have some exposure to it. When it comes to Epic certification, you can become certified in a variety of Epic modules (e.g. Willow, Cupid, Stork, etc.). However, a) your employer must sponsor you; b) your employer must be an Epic customer/contractor; and c) you will need to travel to Epic headquarters in Wisconsin for training.
- Choose the Right MSN Practicum: Make sure your 200-hour practicum is focused on real-world projects with career applications. Some schools like to boast that their nursing students are hired as informaticians while they are still in the program—ask about your school’s employment rates at practicum sites.
- Network Like Mad: Attend nursing informatics conferences & workshops. Contact informatics professionals through LinkedIn and ask them about their work experiences. Talk to program alumni about the job hunting process.
If you’re eyeing work in a hospital or healthcare system, employers will also be looking for relevant clinical expertise. In the 2017 Nursing Informatics (NI) Workforce Survey, 42% of respondents had 16+ years of bedside clinical experience before becoming a nurse informaticist; only 16% had 1-5 years of bedside clinical experience.
Nursing Informatics Job Openings
- Indeed: Nurse Informatics Jobs; Informatics Nurse Specialist Jobs.
- Monster: Nursing Informatics Jobs.
- Glassdoor: Nursing Informatics Jobs; Nurse Informatics Specialist Jobs.
- LinkedIn: Nursing Informatics Jobs.
Mid-Level Job Titles
- Informatics Nurse
- Informatics Coordinator
- Nursing Informatics Analyst
- Nurse Informaticist
- Nurse Informatics Specialist
- Informatics Nurse Specialist
- Quality Improvement Specialist
- IT Nursing Advocate
- Systems Analyst
- Clinical Data Analyst
- Clinical Informatics Expert
- Systems Administrator
- Clinical Informatics Manager
- IT Training Manager
- Project Manager
Note: According to the ANA’s Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice, RNs who enter the informatics field via on-the-job training or continuing education courses are called “Informatics Nurses.” Nurses with a master’s degree (e.g. MSN) or higher in nursing informatics are called “Informatics Nurse Specialists.”
High-Level Job Titles
- Director of Nursing Informatics
- Director of EHR Support
- Clinical Informatics Architect
- Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO)
- Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO)
- Vice President of Informatics
Nursing Informatics Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics posts job data on medical records and health information technicians, but these stats usually only cover low-level positions. Your better bet is HIMSS’s U.S. Compensation Survey, which is published every year. In 2018, HIMSS digital health professionals reported an average salary of $109,610.
However, HIMSS discovered a large gender pay gap, especially for female executives and females in clinical management roles. There was also a significant racial pay gap—non-white health IT professionals made 12% less than their white counterparts. To avoid the gap, go into a job interview with salary facts at your fingertips!
You can get ballpark figures for most positions by looking at Payscale’s page on Nursing Informatics Salaries. This has a list of common informatics titles and their accompanying salaries. For example, in 2018:
- Informatics Nurses had an average annual salary of $78,000.
- Nursing Informatics Analysts had an average annual salary of $78,000.
- Clinical Informatics Specialists had an average annual salary of $82,000.
- Clinical Informatics Managers had an average annual salary of $102,000.
- Nursing Informatics Directors had an average annual salary of $123,000.
Nursing Informatics Resources
Nursing Informatics Certification Bodies
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- ANIA Certification Review Course for ANCC’s Informatics Nursing Certification
Nursing Informatics Professional Associations
- Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI)
- American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
- American Nurses Association (ANA)
- American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
- International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA)
- New England Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC)
Nursing Informatics Conferences & Events
- AMIA Annual Symposium
- AMIA Clinical Informatics Conference
- AMIA Informatics Educators Forum
- AMIA Informatics Summit
- ANIA Annual Conference
- HIMSS Global Conference
- International Conference on Nursing Informatics
- AMIA Annual Symposium
- Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics (SINI)
Nursing Informatics Journals
- Health Informatics Journal (JHI)
- International Journal of Medical Informatics (IJMI)
- Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA)
- Journal of Biomedical Informatics (JBI)
- Journal of Informatics Nursing (JIN)
Nursing Informatics Useful Resources
- AMIA Career Center
- AMIA Nursing Informatics Working Group
- ANA Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice
- HIMSS Career Institute
- HIMSS Resource Library
- HIMSS Scholarships
- HIMSS Nursing Informatics (NI) Workforce Survey
- ICCE Weekend Immersion in Nursing Informatics (WINI)
- Women in AMIA Initiative
At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, nursing informatics falls under the nursing health systems leadership pathway. Students who major in nursing informatics gain the skills needed to analyze, design, and implement information and communication systems for a health care system. Students also learn how to use data and information technology for effective research. This is a 40-credit program that is offered in a part-time format. The coursework uses a mix of synchronous online classes and on-campus intensives in Birmingham. Some of the specialized courses in the curriculum include informatics systems analysis and design, databases and data modeling, project management for nursing information specialists, and health care and business intelligence and analytics. Candidates also complete two practicum experiences in nursing informatics. Students can complete the program in seven semesters.
The nursing informatics program at the University of South Alabama focuses on enhancing patient care and outcomes through the use of health-related information management tools. Students who earn this degree are prepared to take part in interdisciplinary efforts to improve patient outcomes. For RNs without a bachelor's degree, the entire RN to MSN-nursing informatics program requires 53 credits and at least six semesters of study. Students in this program take classes from the information systems department covering health data management, decision support systems, and health data security. Nursing classes with an informatics focus include quality care improvement and evidence-based practice. Students complete a 60-hour field study in administration and resource management and two practicum experiences in clinical informatics, each with 120 clinical hours. Classes are delivered online, and students may be able to complete clinical hours in their home community.
Nurses who want to combine health care and technology can prepare for a master's in nursing informatics through a bridge program at Grand Canyon University. The bridge to the MSN with an emphasis in health informatics is an 18-credit program with six online classes, all delivered in five-week sessions. The bridge classes cover essential skills such as nursing research and statistical analysis. Grand Canyon's MSN in Health Informatics is a 40-credit program with classes delivered in eight-week sessions. The program ends with a capstone course and 16-week practicum where the candidate completes an evidence-based project. For the project, students identify a problem, search the literature, propose and implement a solution, and evaluate the results. The curriculum includes classes covering research analysis, health care information systems, electronic health records, managing health care data, project development and evaluation, and leadership skills. The focus is on improving patient outcomes and operational efficiency.
RNs who earn the Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in informatics from the University of Phoenix have the classroom education needed to take the certification exam in nursing informatics. Students can also choose elective classes that will provide the necessary practicum hours they need to be eligible for the informatics certification exam. Once students in the RN to MSN program complete bridge courses, they only need 36 credits for the master's degree. Some of the classes in the informatics concentration include data analysis and management, information workflow, and database management. Candidates also learn how to evaluate and apply information to make decisions and improve patient outcomes. The University of Phoenix's online courses run for six weeks, and students take one course at a time. RNs who have finished their bridge coursework can earn the MSN in about 18 months.
The nursing informatics concentration at California Baptist University prepares nurses to use information technology to make health care more effective. The curriculum for this degree includes 31 credits in core nursing classes and 16 credits in the informatics area. Unlike other concentrations, which require clinical practicums, informatics students gain technical expertise through hands-on projects. In the first class in the concentration, they learn about database design and gain experience working in teams. In another class, they learn how to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate electronic information systems in a health care setting, including workflow modeling and optimizing health care records. Students also gain skills in project management and learn to use project management software. Informatics students are required to complete a capstone project where they apply theory, principles, and concepts from their area of specialization to enhance nursing practice.
Holy Names University offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nurse informatics. Courses in the specialty include organizational theory, data management, and health information technology. Students also take a course called technology and innovation where they demonstrate what they have learned by developing a strategic initiative in informatics to solve a problem in a simulated or actual situation. Students also complete a practicum in informatics. Core courses required of all MSN students include health law and ethics, health care economics, and a capstone class where students prepare a research proposal related to nursing informatics to improve specific processes or outcomes. Classes for the informatics MSN program meet monthly in a weekend-intensive schedule. Students may complete the practicum near their home.
Graduates of West Coast University's nursing informatics program are prepared to manage health care information technology and to improve the use of data in all aspects of health care, including patient care, education, research, and administration. MSN classes in this specialty cover topics such as electronic health records, implementing IT systems in health care, managing and analyzing information, and liability issues related to informatics. The RN to MSN-nursing informatics program is delivered online, and RNs can earn their MSN in two full years. The program requires 51 credits, including required bridge classes. Candidates complete two practicum experiences in health care informatics and a culminating experience. West Coast University operates on a trimester calendar, and each trimester is divided into two terms. To complete the degree in two years, students take two classes per term for six trimesters.
The Master of Science in Nursing with a nursing informatics specialization is a 36-credit program at American Sentinel University. The graduate nursing core includes three theory classes and three advanced practice classes - pharmacology, physical assessment, and pathophysiology. Classes in the specialty include clinical and administrative systems, health care informatics, health care data analytics, and project management. Students also take a course from the Information Systems Department covering information security and privacy where they learn about technical and physical requirements for safely storing and processing health care information. Candidates complete a capstone course that requires them to create, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based informatics project. The capstone requires at least 130 hours of practice experience. Many other classes also have practice experiences built in. The program is delivered online, and American Sentinel uses eight-week courses.
The nursing informatics program at Aspen University lets nursing students work with computer science majors to create computer-based solutions to common issues in health care. Students in the MSN-informatics program take three classes from the Department of Computer Information Systems. Those classes are called "management of information systems," "customers, markets, and technology," and "information systems strategic planning." Other required classes are taught by the School of Nursing, and they cover health care informatics, health care finance and economics, and legal and ethical issues. Candidates must complete a practicum experience of at least 180 hours where they implement what they have learned in the classroom. For example, informatics majors might develop a software product to meet a specific need. Students also must complete a capstone course that requires a comprehensive nursing research project. Including bridge classes, the RN to MSN-informatics program requires 19 classes for 57 credits.
The Keigwin School of Nursing at Jacksonville University has a Master of Science in Nursing with an informatics specialization. One of the core classes for all MSN students at Jacksonville University covers information systems and technology for improved health care. Students in the informatics track also study legal and ethical issues in informatics, how data analytics can impact patient care, and leadership in informatics for health care organizations and public health strategy. Candidates are required to complete an advanced role practicum to get hands-on experience working with nursing informatics in a health care setting to apply what they have learned in the classroom. The MSN is a 30-credit program, with 18 credits in the core and 12 in the specialization. Students in the RN to MSN program also take seven BSN nursing courses. The program is presented online with no mandatory login times. Courses are delivered in eight-week terms.
The nursing informatics program at Nova Southeastern University's Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing has a focus on data analytics in complex health care systems. Students in the MSN-nursing informatics program take seven courses in the specialty. Courses cover topics such as biomedical informatics, information systems project management, database systems, and clinical decision support systems. Students also complete a class in Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt for health care, allowing them to earn a certification that some employers look for. Candidates are required to complete a 130-hour practicum in nursing informatics. The MSN curriculum also requires 15 credits in foundational nursing courses, and students without a BSN must complete a six-credit bridge course before beginning graduate work. Classes are delivered in an online format, and students may be able to complete the practicum with a preceptor in their home region.
South University has an MSN in nursing informatics that prepares RNs for a range of roles as an informaticist. Graduates have the skills to design, select, implement, and maintain informatics solutions for all facets of nursing, ranging from direct care of patients to administrative systems and decision support tools. Graduates are also prepared to take the national nursing informatics certification test. The curriculum requires students to complete 20 credits in the MSN core and 28 credits in the specialization. Specialized courses cover topics such as information technology infrastructure (the course is presented by the management information science program) and issues and trends in nursing informatics. Students complete two practicum experiences, one with a focus on database management and one with a focus on project management. Each practicum includes 120 hours in a clinical setting. For their capstone, candidates complete a scholarly project in nursing informatics.
The Leadership in Health Information Technology (LHIT) MSN at Allen College is offered jointly with the University of Minnesota. Students take 20 credits in nursing from Allen College and 16 credits of LHIT classes from UMN. Those classes include databases, system analysis and design, and health care informatics. Graduates receive their MSN from Allen and a post-baccalaureate certificate from UMN. Applicants must meet the admission requirements for the University of Minnesota as well as Allen College. Students pay UMN tuition for the classes they take through the university. For their clinical experiences, candidates work with a preceptor in a setting such as an acute care or long-term care facility. All courses for this MSN track are offered online. Students only have to come to the Allen campus twice during the program - once for a one-day orientation and once to present their graduate project.
The University of Maryland School of Nursing has a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in nursing informatics that includes 40 credits in the specialty. Students in this program study technical issues such as technology solutions for generating knowledge in health care, systems analysis and design, and healthcare database systems. They also study informatics from a more human perspective, including human factors and human-computer interaction. Candidates also complete a practicum in nursing informatics. The School of Nursing has a range of scholarships that are open to nursing students in the RN to MSN program. These include the Conway Scholarship, which provides full tuition, and the John Repique Scholarship, which provides up to $500 for nursing informatics MSN students. The RN to MSN program has full-time and part-time options. Students may take classes online or at the School of Nursing in Baltimore.
At Ferris State University, students pursuing the Master of Science in Nursing-informatics concentration take three courses in the concentration. For two of the courses, they select from classes offered by the College of Business's Master of Science in Information Security and Intelligence (MISI) program. Students can select from classes used in the College of Business's advanced study certificate programs in business intelligence, incident response, or project management, or they can select other MISI classes that match their professional goals. The third class in the concentration covers the leadership role of the informatics nurse specialist. The MSN requires students to complete 18 credits in the nursing core, nine credits in the concentration, and 10 credits in 'integration of knowledge' classes that include two clinical practicum experiences and two preparation classes.
RNs in the nursing informatics specialization at Capella University take five courses in the specialization. One course, for example, covers how to plan, design, and implement an information system within the nursing practice; students also learn about electronic health records. In another course, they analyze the use of data and databases to enhance decision-making. They also learn about the life cycle of hardware and software applications, including testing and supporting them. Informatics students also complete a practicum at a clinical site of their choice where they demonstrate their competency in the role of nurse informatics specialist. Students can select the site of the practicum, which must provide at least 200 hours of hands-on experience. Including bridge courses, this RN to MSN program requires students to complete 16 courses and 66 quarter hours of credit.
Nebraska Methodist College has a nurse informatics track in its Master of Science in Nursing program. The curriculum considers health informatics from several perspectives, such as the use of informatics in managing health systems, and regulatory, legal, and ethical issues that can arise in health care informatics. Students also tackle the field of consumer health informatics and discover strategies and technologies to improve access to health care with electronic information. The course on clinical information systems covers electronic health records and includes a precepted clinical experience. Students also complete a practicum in nursing informatics, and together the two clinical experiences are enough to meet nursing informatics certification standards. All MSN students at Nebraska Methodist College complete an evidence-based capstone project working with a small team of fellow students. Courses are delivered online in either five-week or 10-week sessions with a week off between courses.
The nursing informatics track in Fairleigh Dickinson University's RN to BSN to MSN program is known as the nursing information systems track. For this specialization, students complete 12 credits in nursing information systems plus nine credits in computer science classes. The nursing informatics classes include nursing information systems and applications, nursing informatics roles, and project management. Students also complete a practicum where they are placed in selected agencies to gain hands-on experience in implementing and evaluating clinical and management information systems for health care. For the computer science requirements, students select three classes from four options: computer science, computer programming, management information systems, and decision support systems. This track also has room for one elective, and students can take an additional informatics practicum, a nursing leadership or evidence-based practice experience, or a course in education and learning theory. This track is open to full-time and part-time students.
RNs who want to use their critical thinking skills to improve patient outcomes can earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a nursing informatics concentration from Excelsior College. The MSN is part of the college's online dual degree program that allows nurses to earn a BSN and MSN. Courses specific to the informatics concentration cover topics such as system life cycles, management information to support decision-making, and database design and management. Candidates are also required to complete a capstone in nursing informatics. The capstone, which includes nearly 250 hours of practice experience, also requires students to create a scholarly paper, present a project, and keep a reflective journal. Excelsior College operates on a trimester system. Some classes are scheduled for eight weeks and some for 15 weeks.
The curriculum in the nursing informatics program at Xavier University includes an advanced informatics class delivered by the health services administration program in the College of Professional Sciences. Students in the Master of Science in Nursing informatics track also take classes in organizational behavior and management processes for nursing leaders. Informatics majors complete two practicum courses where they get hands-on experience applying the concepts and theories they have learned in class. MSN candidates must also complete a scholarly project. Most courses meet face-to-face on campus in Cincinnati. Some courses are presented in a video-conference format at other sites in Ohio. Courses usually meet once weekly in the late afternoon or evening, and classes are scheduled so that students may be able to take two courses in one afternoon/evening. Full-time and part-time students are accepted.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing has an RN to MSN program with a nursing informatics concentration that is delivered online. This MSN a 37.5-credit degree program and some credits count toward both the undergraduate and graduate degree for students in the RN to MSN program. Courses in the concentration cover topics such as evaluating technology and usability, database management, clinical information systems, and IT project management. Informatics majors also complete two practicum courses where students gain hands-on experience in a nurse informaticist role. Students can complete the practicum with preceptors in their home community. Students may pursue this degree on a full-time or part-time basis. The University of Pittsburgh's MSN program ranked #12 on the 2020 U.S. News & World Report list of best nursing grad schools.
The Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nursing informatics at Wilkes University is a 39-credit program that prepares students to take the national certification exam in nursing informatics. Students complete 15 credits in the concentration. Required courses cover using data to improve patient outcomes, database design and management, and the role of the nurse leader in informatics. Candidates also complete two practicum experiences of 100 hours each. During the practica, they work with a preceptor to plan and implement an informatics-driven project to improve the quality of care delivered in a health care setting. Students are responsible for arranging a suitable practicum with the assistance of the graduate nursing clinical coordinator. Informatics majors also complete 24 credits in core nursing courses that cover theory and advanced nursing practice topics. As a capstone, each student must complete a scholarly review related to informatics.
The nursing informatics specialty MSN program at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing is a highly focused 36-credit program. Almost every class is devoted to some aspect of nursing informatics. Courses cover topics such as current and emerging tools for data analysis, using data to support decision-making, and using technology for professional development and patient education. Students also learn about mobile technologies, telehealth, virtual reality, and IT project management. The curriculum includes two practicum classes where students gain experience as an informatics nurse specialist under the guidance of a preceptor. Vanderbilt's clinical placement staff helps students find practicum sites. The informatics program is affiliated with Vanderbilt University's Department of Biomedical Informatics. Students have access to online databases, statisticians, and other resources for research and projects. Classes are online, but students must attend three or four on-campus sessions in Nashville.
The College of Health Professions at Western Governor's University has an RN to MSN option in nursing informatics. Master's level students take six courses in the informatics specialty. One course deals with analyzing and designing informatics systems that will meet the needs of a health care organization and comply with government regulations. Another class examines how to use data analytics to improve patient outcomes. Candidates for the informatics degree must complete a field experience working in a health care setting in the role of a nurse informatics specialist. During the field experience, students analyze an existing health information system to determine if it needs optimization. After the field experience, students complete a system optimization proposal as their capstone project. Western Governor's University reports that 89% of program graduates complete the RN to MSN program in four years or less.