How To Become an Informatics Nurse
| NurseJournal Staff
There are plenty of routes you can take on your path to becoming certified as an informatics nurse, and while most of them begin with the basic educational standards of a registered nurse, there are additional academic factors to consider. All informatics nurses must be licensed through the same NCLEX-RN licensure examination that United States nursing students pass in order to work in the country.
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The Different Education Pathways
You can become an informatics nurse using the following educational methods:
Many states have three year diploma programs based out of hospitals and some colleges that provide the minimum educational requirement for a registered nursing position.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
An associate level diploma takes two years to complete through an accredited college and provides the base requirement for registered nurses to work within the United States. This is the fastest way to gain access to the NCLEX-RN national licensure examination that all registered nurses must complete.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A four year Bachelor of Science in nursing degree is the most commonly utilized form of education toward a position in the field of registered nursing. It covers courses such as anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, chemistry, and mental health practices, among other important subjects. Informatics nurses are a specialized field of registered nurses which means that this base academic level of education is required to continue on this career path. A BSN offers:
- The basic understanding required for basic nursing procedures.
- Two initial years of focusing on courses such as biology, microbiology, chemistry, human growth, human development, psychology, nutrition, organic chemistry, physiology and anatomy.
- Two final years of concentrating on courses such as adult care, geriatrics, child health, mental health, maternity and infant care, chronic disease, and community health.
- A better idea of what kind of cultural, economic, social, and political factors can affect the health of a community and the world.
- A competence in the theory of nursing.
There are three graduate level options for those who are interested in working as an informatics nurse. These options are: Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN); a graduate level degree is not required for informatics nursing, but a Master of Science in nursing degree can help to achieve higher standing in the workplace and establish a higher rate of pay and more independence in the field. Many universities provide graduate level learning both in the classroom and through online learning for flexibility. This program will take an additional 2-3 years following the completion of a baccalaureate degree. According to Education Portal, a graduate level education in this style of nursing will also require an additional 2000 hours or 2 years of experience in the field. Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD); not a basic requirement for informatics nursing, a PhD gives nursing students a doorway into more research based practices and teaching experiences.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Although a Doctor of Nursing Practice is not required for this position, it can help if an informatics nurse wishes to teach specialized informatics programs through a university setting, as well as continue the possibility for job growth in the field of nursing. This degree will take 1-3 years to complete depending on the courses undertaken.
Online learning is possible in the field of informatics at the graduate level of learning through most states, although some states may also hire nurses at the bachelor level with an online degree as well. Many of these courses will require nurses to complete both online and classroom style learning in cases of practical experience and hands on projects and testing.
From state to state there are different licenses and certifications that may be required in the field of informatics nursing. The NCLEX-RN examination, which is a national licensure exam that must be taken in order to work in the United States as a registered nurse, must be completed by all informatics nurses. In order to continue in this specified field, an Informatics Nurse Certification Examination must also be passed through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The credentialing center and other nursing certification and licensure boards protect nurses and the patients that they work with by governing the rules of what a nurse must know and experience to work in the medical field.
Some of the things they do include:
- Mapping the outlines of what a nursing student must know and experience to become licensed in the country and their state. This type of decision is generally based on education and development.
- Choosing parameters of nursing practices, which are governed by the Nurse Practice Act within each state.
- Disciplining nurses who do not meet the requirements of their licensure or who default against it.
Prerequisites Toward Study
Informatics nurses must have the basic education required by all registered nurses, plus additional certification in the field of informatics. Depending on what state you’re becoming an informatics nurse through there are other requirements that must be met as well.
- Specific minimum averages on ACT or SAT scores.
- A minimum GPA rating between 2.0 and 3.25
- Specific number and level of math subjects.
- Specific number and level of science subjects.
- Four years of English courses.
- Two years studying languages.
- Selecting nursing as a major after preliminary prerequisites has been completed.
In order to become an informatics nurse an accredited program must be undertaken. You can discover which schools are accredited through sources like The United States Department of Education, The Accreditation Commission for the Education of Nurses, or The American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Getting Certified as an Informatics Nurse
To begin working as an informatics nurse you must become licensed by completing the NCLEX national licensure examination with a passing grade. This requires applying for your license through the board of nursing. Your state will have different regulations for your eligibility and there are four categories of needs that must be met in order to complete the exam.
These categories have been established nationally and are the following:
- A safe and effective environment for care.
- Being able to cope and adapt through psychological integrity.
- Health maintenance and promotion, Focusing on prevention through promotion and health maintenance.
- Dealing with patient comfort and physical care with physiological integrity.
For more information, visit: The National Council For State Boards Of Nursing
The Cost of Becoming an Informatics Nurse
Tuition for a registered nurse and all specializations varies on a school by school basis. The state in which the program is being taken, as well as the level of learning can also have an effect on cost. For this reason, it’s a good idea to look into your school of choice and check their admissions website or speak to an admissions officer.
Scholarships for Informatics Nurses
Fortunately, there are many forms of financial assistance that informatics nurses can obtain. One of the scholarships that can be applied for in this area of expertise is Duke University School of Nursing Informatics Scholarships which provides a graduate level student with up to $10,000 funding for their educational program.
Working as an Informatics Nurse
Informatics nurses work within the information technology department of the medical field and incorporate this technology into a clinical type of setting. They run research on specific types of research and obtain data at a clinical level for trials and other purposes. Some informatics nurses assist patients in health management from an IT perspective, while others work with technology like biosurvillance. This is a generally low stress job with more regulated hours than other levels of nursing.
Informatics nursing requires specialized education in technology and equipment. They also have the same general skill set as all registered nurses making it easy for them to alternate between roles when required.
The job outlook for specialized fields of registered nursing will see a job growth rate of 19% by the year 2022, which is a faster than average growth rate for many industries across the United States. This outlook is due to a number of reasons, including:
- A higher demand for nurses as the population of the United States is aging.
- Greater need for medical professionals as obesity rates and illnesses related to those rates, such as diabetes, increase.
- There’s more access to healthcare, which means more Americans taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act.
- Home health care has become a greater priority as hospitals and medical centers work to reduce costs and acute care patients.
- More outpatient care and nursing homes are becoming available with a need for staff.
At the moment, the outlook for an informatics nurse is high, but different professions of nursing will see highs and lows across the country, as different states require different levels and types of nursing to assist their rising need for nurses.
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