Healthcare data is everywhere. From one-on-one, personalized care to population health of the masses, there is no single nursing role today that does not revolve around datasets. Data collection, tracking and analysis within nursing started with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. Since then, data management in the healthcare industry continues to grow exponentially to help improve care for others.
However, data analysis for decision-making is only as good as the data. Nurses are key to planning, identifying, understanding and applying that data to improve patient care.
Nurses seeking career advancement or options outside of direct patient care due to the COVID-19 pandemic may want to consider a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nurse Informatics. As the Information Age propels forward and the artificial intelligence boom continues, nurses can gain a job market edge by building their data management skills. At every level, nurses can use data for best practice and evidence-based care.
What Is the Role of a Nurse Informaticist?
Nurse Informatics is a partnership between nursing and information. The definition according to the American Nurses Association (ANA) is as follows:
“Nurse informatics (NI) is the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.”
Nursing informaticists are on the frontlines of technology revolution, combining ideas and disciplines to create new systems and approaches to benefit all. Nursing informaticists report their most frequent care support as:
- Systems implementation
- System optimization and utilization
- Systems development
- Quality initiatives and reporting
How Do Data Management Skills Give You an Edge in the Job Market?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job category of the medical and health services manager is growing “much faster than average” at 32% between 2019 and 2029. Although the data is not specific for nurse informaticists, the demand for data skills will continue to escalate with the aging population and rising healthcare costs.
Nursing informaticists commonly start in their roles at higher pay rates than patient-side nurses, emerging into manager paygrades as their combined patient care experiences and graduate degrees synergistically help patients, payers, the healthcare team and organizations. In addition, average salaries for these professionals continue to grow due to increasing education and expertise in today’s data-driven healthcare environment.
Currently, 49% of nursing informaticists report earning an annual salary of $100,000 or more. Nurses with advanced degrees state they make more than those with associate or baccalaureate degrees. About 45% of nursing informaticists work from home — a percentage that has grown over the last decade and contributes to enhanced well-being and satisfaction in this healthcare role.
Why Do You Need an MSN in Nurse Informatics?
An MSN in nurse informatics helps nurses earn a degree that puts them in a higher pay bracket and expands their practice into systems thinking. For example, Northeastern State University’s Data Management and Healthcare Technology course equips nurses with resume-boosting, practical skills to effect healthcare transformation for today and the future.
For this job category, BLS also notes that “… master’s degrees are also common. Prospective managers typically have some work experience in an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility.” The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2020 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey indicates approximately two-thirds of nursing informaticists have master’s degrees, and 58% hold specialty certifications.
Why Do Nurses Need to Get Involved in Data?
Kimberly S. Glassman, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN stresses that nurses must “get involved in helping make the future of nursing data a reality and provide nurses with more quality time with their patients.” Data management roles are strong contributors to the healthcare quadruple aim: improving patient experience, caring for populations, reducing healthcare costs and contributing to clinicians’ overall health and wellness.
Healthcare systems are rapidly evolving as government, organizations and employers are pushing for novel methods of work and care. While nursing informaticists are helping others navigate these complex spaces, they are also earning excellent wages. Knowledge about data can help you with a specialty career in nurse informatics or grow your nursing education or nursing leadership knowledge.