Nursing Informatics Certification, Training and Careers
In simple terms Nursing Informatics refers to an individual who is a nurse with specialized knowledge in Information Technology as it applies to healthcare.
A nurse’s training, clinical knowledge and experience is leveraged along with IT training to help treat and support patients and other healthcare providers.
A definition of Nursing Informatics can also be found at the HIMSS Web Site under ‘What is Nursing Informatics‘.
Nursing Informatics Certification Process
I’ve outlined some general steps below regarding the process for registering for the Nursing Informatics Certification process. These steps aren’t ‘absolute’, but you’ll have an idea of what to expect.
Obtain the Informatics Nurse Certification Catalog from the ANCC by calling 1.800.284.2378. That’s the number as of this writing.
In approx. 6 weeks or so you should receive a welcome packet with an application form and what you need to do to provide proof of education and credit hours. You’ll need your College or University transcript.
The booklet includes instruction and information regarding test scheduling. As well it will outline instructions for the test day, how scoring is done along with a practice test. Expect the practice test to be much easier than the real test.
There will be a detailed test content outline included to ensure you have all of the topics covered.
Once ANCC receives and reviews your application you will receive a Proctor Enrollment form, which allows you to register for the exam.
Any Protor testing site is acceptable to schedule an appointment, however it must be done with 90 days of confirmation.
Your enrollment form will have an ANCC identification number along with the exam code, which is Exam 27-ANCC Informatics Nurse.
Do final study preparation and show up for the exam!
About the exam…
The testing format is computer based and uses multiple choice answers. Anyone that’s ever taken a Microsoft or Cisco certification exam would be familiar with this format.
The exam consists of 175 questions, in which you will have 3.5 hours to write the exam. Of the 175 questions there are 25 pre-tests questions that are not scored. These questions are used for evaluation before the are applied to the scored portion of the examination.
The percentage and number of questions in each of the major categories of the scored portion of the examination are also shown.
Some topics will include System analysis, design, information systems implementation, application support, testing and evaluation. The questions and the weighting of the question are subject to change.
Nursing Informatics Certification Training
You’ll want to prepare for the Nursing Informatics Certification Exam using multiple sources. If you feel you are weak in any one area, you should consider purchasing a book dedicated to that topic.
Anyway here are a few books you’ll want to take a look at to get you started.
Nursing Informatics training consists of a large portion of Information Technology related topics. Nurses don’t have to be dedicated Information Technology experts, however they do need to be aware of a broad range of topics. , Usually during the course of working within Healthcare IT, some nurses will in fact become experts in their respective technical field or responsibility.
Some of the topics in no particular order may include:
- Introduction to Nursing Informatics
- Introduction to the computer and computer concepts
- Software and Information management
- Computer Networking
- Word Processing
- Presentation Software
- Spread Sheets and Databases – Pulling out and crunching data
- The internet and searching for information
- mHealth and Mobile Healthcare
- Healthcare Informations – EMRs, EHRs
- Project Management
Nursing Informatics Online Training Programs
A search online will reveal many online degree/certificate programs for Nursing Informatics. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best schools below.
A Degree in Nursing Informatics requires a longer time commitment and a greater financial obligation. A certificate program in nursing informatics, will be shorter in during, but will give you enough knowledge to enter the field.
We have these schools listed in more detail on another Post Called Top 10 Nursing Informatics Online Degree Programs.
These are all great programs and no matter where you take your training you will be in a better position to succeed in Nursing Informatics.
Careers in Nursing Informatics
Currently the outlook for a jobs in Nursing Informatics Look good. According to Payscale.com the salary range for Nursing Informatics roles pay from $48,700 to $96,500. Of course this number will vary depending on region, advanced degree and experience.
Nurses with Informatics education will typically try to find roles within their clinical experience. This would be the ideal way to leverage their informatics training.
If there aren’t any current roles in your organization, getting that first opportunity may be a challenge. A great way to start would be to see what’s available where you are. Education is great, however experience is really what is needed. If smaller technical roles present themselves, or if there is a new technical related project as work, get involved.
As a nurse you know that training and education are one thing and experience is another. That’s were the real learning begins and I believe this is true with any job. Once you’ve gone through a technical implementation or an upgrade you learn a TON!
If you are newly graduated with a Nursing Informatics Degree or Certificate does not mean you are equipped to handle all things technical. However it should be able to help you leverage an opportunity. If you already have technical skills learned from a position your in, the Informatics training will make you that more marketable. An Informatics Degree/Certificate plus real experience is very valuable.
If you don’t have that technical experience, but you have the Informatics training, work at getting ‘an opportunity’ to work. You may have to take something at the beginning that is less than desirable, but remember that it’s another step forward. Once you’ve learned on the job and proven yourself you will be able to move forward.
A good way to create your own technical experience is to start a web site and load it with WordPress or some other blogging software. If you want to get in to a technical field this is a good little project. It’s really cheap to get start, just a few dollars a month. You can also buy a few Networking and Computer based books from the ‘Dummies’ series. They are really well written and easy to understand. I’ve read a few in the past just to understand the concepts before getting in to anything deeper. Definitely worth the few dollars. They are all on Amazon and have great reviews.
I pay under $10 a month for Hostgator and I can have unlimited domains and up to 5 databases. This will give you an opportunity to work with html, css, database, practice database queries. I think there are monthly deals for under $4 a month. Less than a latte at Starbucks.
If you don’t know what any of that stuff means, it’s ok. That’s what learning is for. Buy some computer books and start getting your hands dirty. It’s the only way. You can work at things without any fear of breaking anything. You’ll also have to buy a domain. For example HealthcareITsystems.com. The name doesn’t matter really, since you just want to to get something up and practice.
Once it’s up and running installing WordPress (blogging software) is basically automated through the Hostgator Control Panel. A couple of mouse clicks and you’re done.
Running your own web site is a great way to get started and gain experience with Informatics. You’ll have something to talk about during an interview as well because it will give you experience in a lot of different areas…potentially.
Also most of us have used Microsoft Office products like Excel, Word and Power Point. If you have the suite of products you may even have MS Access, which is a database. You will want to get familiar with these applications in more detail as well. Microsoft Project is another application that is used in a lot of organizations. As the name suggests it’s used for managing projects.
Who hires Nurses with Informatics training?
I’m sure a lot of nurses think of working in their current organizations or other hospital type environments. However there are lots of other positions in the private sector that are really interesting.
When I worked at Kodak Health Imaging we used to hire X-ray Technicians to teach customers on our applications. When I worked in oncology, our company hired Oncology Nurses to teach customers and other nurses on how to use our electronic medical record.
There are lots of opportunities to leverage your training and knowledge. You just have to look.
Here is a list of Interview Question from Allnurses to give you some more insight in to the position and what is expected. Here’s another article from the HIMSS web site with feedback on how to approach job searching.
Take a look on Monster.com for a quick look at what’s available for Nursing Informatics jobs available now.
You’ll also want to tweaking your resume as well to highlight your IT experience. A Nursing Informatics Resume will have a combination of your clinical experience and technical experience.
As I mentioned above, if you had your own web site you could feel in a lot of blanks. You’ll have to learn somewhere and it’s better to do it on your time and where you have the luxury of making as many mistakes as you want.
You may be able to find a few examples of Nursing Informatics Resumes here.