What’s Nursing Informatics? Everything to Know About This Cutting-Edge Field

Jane Nam
Updated June 28, 2024
    Learn more about nurse informaticists' typical duties, salaries, training requirements, and job satisfaction levels in the field.
    Nurse informaticist typing on a computer in a hospitalCredit: Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

    What Is a Nursing Informaticist?

    Healthcare institutions, especially hospitals, deal with massive amounts of data. This includes health records, patient information, and other information vital to both care and medical research.

    Nurse informaticists — also known as nursing informatics specialists or clinical informatics specialists — can have a range of responsibilities. This includes anything from implementing new systems that better organize and protect clinical data to connecting doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff with the latest technologies.

    The data in this report is based on the numbers from a 2022 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey of 1,118 nursing informaticists. Source: Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey. HIMSS. March 2023. PDF here.

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    Role and Responsibilities

    The top responsibilities of a nurse informaticist, according to the HIMSS survey, include:

    • Systems implementation
    • System optimization/utilization
    • Project management
    • Systems development
    • Quality initiatives/reporting
    • Informatics education

    These responsibilities can come in the form of:

    • Training, nursing practice support/redesign
    • Applying data to support clinical care
    • System design
    • Information retrieval
    • Data interpretation and visualization
    • System analysis
    • Fostering innovation
    • Change Control
    • Strategy
    • Applying technology for health equity and access to care
    • Enhancing digital platforms
    • Artificial intelligence in nursing care

    A nurse informaticist typically does not provide as much direct patient care as a traditional nurse, and in some cases, does not provide direct care at all.

    About 6 in 10 nurse informaticists did not perform clinical care at all in 2022. Among those who did interact with patients, 65% responded that they either assisted or provided direct patient care. Another 20% did not provide direct care but assisted with administrative tasks, such as scribing.

    Where Do Nurse Informaticists Work?

    Most nurse informaticists (62%) work in hospitals or health systems. Other primary workplaces include the government/military, vendors or payers, nursing facilities, and academic settings.

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    How Do I Become a Nurse Informaticist?

    There are several important first steps: attaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing, getting a nursing license, and gaining clinical experience.

    The vast majority of nurse informaticists had a bachelor’s in nursing or higher. Nearly 70% of informaticists had more than six years of clinical experience.

    • In 2022, 40% of nurse informaticists reported having a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a number that’s down from the previous eight years.
    • There was a slight increase in the percentage of nurse informaticists with a master’s degree in nursing informatics and a decrease in the percentage with a master’s in nursing.
    • There was also a slight increase in the percentage of nurse informaticists with a doctor of nursing practice in 2022 than previous years.
    Nurse Informaticists’ Nursing Education Levels, 2022
    Level of EducationPercentage of Nurse Informaticists
    Bachelor’s in Nursing40%
    Master’s in Nursing Informatics28%
    Master’s in Nursing19%
    Associate in Nursing10%
    Other Master’s10%
    Other Bachelor’s9%
    Doctor of Nursing Practice8%
    Master’s in Other Informatics6%

    Source: HIMSS

    Nurse Informaticists’ Salaries

    Overall Salary

    Nurse informaticists’ salaries are increasing.

    • In 2022, 60% of nurse informaticists reported an annual salary of over $100,000.
    • This is up from 49% reporting six-figure salaries in 2020, 45% in 2017, and 33% in 2014.
    • Around 50% of nurse informaticists make between $76,000-$125,000.
    Nurse Informaticist Salaries, 2022
    Salary RangePercentage of Nurse Informaticists
    $76,000 to $100,00024%
    $51,000 to $75,00011%
    $50,000 or less2%
    Prefer not to answer2%

    Note: Percentages may not be exact. Source: HIMSS

    Salary by Education Level

    Higher levels of education strongly correlated with higher salaries.

    • 25% of nurse informaticists with a Ph.D., nurse practitioner degree, or doctorate made a salary of more than $176,000.
    • This was much higher than the 8-12% of all other degree holders.
    • The majority of nurse informaticists with a bachelor’s in nursing made over $100,000.

    Salary by Time in Field

    Nurse informaticists with more experience in the field also earned higher salaries.

    • Over 60% of those with 0-5 years of experience in the field made between $76,000-$150,000.
    • Around 30% of those who have worked in the field for 0-5 years made over $100,000.
    • Just under 20% of those with 16+ years of experience in the field made $201,000 or more.
    • Over 40% of those with 11-15 years of experience made $126,000 or more.

    3 in 4 Report High Career Satisfaction

    In 2022, around 75% of nurse informaticists answered that they were highly satisfied with their career in informatics. This was the lowest figure since 2014, when about 80% of respondents reported they were highly satisfied.

    Lack of Career Advancement Opportunities Reported As Top Challenge

    Nearly half of nurse informaticists reported the lack of career advancement opportunities as one of the reasons preventing a successful career in the field.

    • Overall, 48% of nurse informaticists had a lack of career advancement listed in their top three professional barriers.
    • Another 38% had poor work/life balance as a top-three barrier.
    Nurse Informaticists’ Number One Barrier Preventing a Successful Career, 2022
    Challenges to a Successful Nursing Informatics CareerPercentage of Nurse Informaticists
    Lack of career advancement/promotion opportunities20%
    Achieving/sustaining adequate work/life balance17%
    Lack of coaches, mentors, or sponsors12%
    Financial costs of education, certifications, and professional development opportunities11%
    Pay equity9%

    Source: HIMSS

    Nearly 80% Work Remotely at Least One Day of the Week

    The majority of nurse informaticists work remotely at some point during their work week.

    • In 2022, nearly 80% of nurse informaticists reported working remotely at some point during the work week.
    • Of those who worked remotely, 81% reported doing so at least twice a week.
    • Over 30% are completely remote.