Unique Career Path Options With A Master's In Nursing Informatics
Nursing informatics is about using information to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes. As health care has, like just about every other specialty on earth, become more dependent on computers and information systems, the field of nursing informatics has gained in importance, giving computer-savvy nurses an opportunity to make their career paths more interesting by combining their skills in technology and patient care.
Why Choose Nursing Informatics?
Keeping track of patient care involves a ton of information today, and not keeping that information well organized can create serious problems. Computerized charting, online medication reconciliation and electronic health records present great opportunities, but they also create the need for specialized nurses who can help design better information procedures and train floor nurses in how to use them properly. Informatics is a growing field that barely existed just a few years ago.
As a nursing informatics specialist, you can expect work on improving methods of analyzing nursing and health care data, safeguarding the security of patient data and potentially training your colleagues in the use of new technology. In truth, that doesn’t even cover all the things you can get involved in as an informatics specialist. You might, for example, work on implementing an electronic health records program in the emergency room that tracks ER wait times, frequency of narcotic administration and staffing/patient ratios. Virtually every different area in a health care facility has different information issues that an informatics nurse could potentially be in charge of improving
If you like doing research, this specialty can give you lots of chances to indulge it. Nurses with a masters in informatics often do research on issues in quality assurance and treatment. They can also be sought-after in the private sector by employers in hospitals, private clinics, governmental agencies, businesses that design and sell health care information technology systems.
Some of the courses you are likely to take in a master’s program in nursing informatics include:
Are You Suited to Informatics?
Statistics for Health Informatics
- Health Information Systems
- Networks for Health Informatics
- Knowledge Management
- Research Methods
- Project Management
People who gravitate towards an informatics degree generally enjoy working with computers and want to focus on how information systems can be used to improve patient care. If you're allergic to your computer, this career path is not for you! A high level of curiosity, a love of technology, an exacting nature and the ability to understand relationships among data types can all help take you far in nursing informatics.
What is Involved in Earning a Masters in Nursing Informatics?
Informatics masters programs are available online or on campus, and generally require 18 credit hours on average. Most programs have at least one practicum that must be completed successfully in order to graduate. As with most master’s programs, you vritually always need to have a bachelor’s degree to qualify.
Degree or Certificate?
You should be aware that certificates, which are shorter and less expensive than a masters degree, are also available nursing informatics. Certification programs tend to be are designed for professionals who want to expand and update their knowledge of healthcare informatics, but may not necessarily be planning to make it the primary focus of their career. If you work in a small to mid sized health facility, this may be the best option for you, since there may not be a full time position in informatics available there. The informatics degree can help you into a new specialty where you focus more on technology, but don't lose the need to keep interacting with other nurses and helping to improve patient outcomes.
Some Top Schools Offering Masters Degrees In Nurse Informatics Online:
Walden BSN to MSN Informatics
Grand Canyon University MS Informatics
American Sentinal MSN Informatics
Kaplan University MSN Nurse Informatics
Top Online Programs In Nursing:
Indiana State University
ISU is the state university of Indiana, located in Terre Haute. It has received high ratings for many years from Princeton Review and other publications. Right now it's one of the most progressive state schools in terms of online learning, with a variety of degree progams. It's nursing program offers up to 10 hours of credit via a "professional portfolio evaluation," a mechanism through which experienced nurses can demonstrate their knowledge to receive credit in certain areas. Indiana State offers LPN to BSN and RN to BSN programs online.
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Kaplan is a large school specializing in online career training, owned by the Washington Post Company. It offers degrees in many different areas. For licensed nurses, if offers an RN to BS program, or an RN to MS "bridge" degree. Nursing master's degrees are also offered in:
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- MS Nurse Educator
- Nursing Administration
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Georgetown, located in Washington D.C., is one of the oldest and most famous private universities in the country. In the online world, it specializes in masters of science programs for nurses:
- MS Adult Gerontology
- MS Family Nurse Practitioner
- MS Nurse Educator
- MS Nurse Midwifery
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American Sentinel University
ASU is a popular choice among our readers, partly due to the great affordability of it's online RN to BSN program. RNs can enroll with no work experience, and may get credit transfer for any previous courses they have taken. American Sentinal's nursing programs have accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
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