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Nursing informatics is an exploding field of opportunity! In this specialty, nurses use their nursing background coupled with advanced information management training to design systems that solve problems for nurses, patients and healthcare organizations. Start off on the right foot with the following steps:
1. Determine which type of informatics is right for you.
“Health informatics” or “nursing informatics” really consists of several subtypes, such as translational/biometric informatics, medical informatics and clinical research informatics. Each one deals with how computer technology and digital information merge with science, clinical practice, research studies and so on. Deciding on a certain subtype will help you narrow down your choices of informatics programs.
2. Find an accredited program that recognizes your experience.
One primary nursing accreditation is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CCNE accreditation involves getting credit for informatics credentials such as the RN-BC or the CPHIMS. Also make sure to look for special partnerships such as the HIMSS organizational affiliate program.
3. Get inside information.
Info from nurses “in the trenches” is invaluable. Participate in online forums that cater to active informatics nurses. Find out who is part of the nursing informatics team at your facility and see if they have a few moments to discuss the specialty’s pros and cons over lunch. Get involved in national groups, such as the American Nursing Informatics Association or Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
4. Hone your geek skills.
Are you rusty on computer navigation and software but really want to get into informatics? Start looking for free or low-cost classes on basic software, especially applications that involve number manipulation and data entry, such as Microsoft Excel. The more you can learn on the front end, the easier it will be later on.
5. Transition to an informatics-related job now.
Future employers will be looking not only at your degree creds but also at your prior experience in the field…and we all know how valuable experience is. Entry-level positions may only require your nursing degree and a bit of computer savvy but will pay off in big dividends in later job searches.
Are you currently enrolled in a health informatics program? Share additional tips with us in the comments!
Want to find out more about continuing your education? Visit our Next Level Nursing hub.