Becoming a Health Informatics Specialist

If you’ve ever considered branching out your nursing knowledge to other realms of the profession, becoming an informatics specialist might be the right position for you. If you have a tendency towards all things technological and don’t want to part ways with the world of healthcare, keep reading to learn how to become a health informatics specialist.

What is Informatics?

It’s not a common term and you may not have heard it elsewhere. The American Nursing Association explains that nursing informatics is a specialty that integrates computer science, nursing science, and information science in order to manage data and information and bring a higher level of wisdom to the practice of nursing. Through this integration, informatics facilitates a higher level of support for patients, nurses, and other staff members that are in decision-making capacities. The use of technology is highly relied upon during this process and requires a deep understanding of how technology and nursing interact.

What Type of Experience Do You Need?

If this sounds like a position that is right for you, there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled. Nursing informatics is a highly prized job and is generally not open as an entry-level position. Instead, the responsibilities require that a nurse has extensive experiencing in both nursing practice and information systems.

If you would like to pursue this position, you may need to look into continuing education. There are many courses available for preparing nurses. If you are truly motivated to get into informatics, a year of relevant coursework and a good foundational understanding of technology (especially programming and software) will give you a good start to being suitable for the role.

Once you join the ranks of nurse informatics, you will need a few years of experience before taking the ANCC Board Certification in Informatics. While further degrees aren’t necessary outside of this certification, a master’s degree or extra certificate will improve your salary and employability.

Networking

Once you are confident in your understanding of technology and how it can be utilized to assist with nursing, and you’ve got a few extra certifications under your belt, it might be time to start networking. Networking is the process of getting to know people in fields that you are interested in or already working in. This is very much related to the common job-seeking phrase we’ve all heard: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” In other words, if you are qualified for a position, the difference between getting a job or staying where you are is who you know that can help you.

While this may sound like you’re taking advantage of others, or even using them for what they can offer you, that’s not what is going on. You are making professional connections to others that you can hopefully learn from and work with. If they don’t have anything to offer you job-wise, they will most likely know of someone who will. They can at least give you guidance and advice on finding an informatics position.

Get Started Where You Are

The easiest way to get into health informatics is to begin where you currently work. If you’re interested in moving in that direction, discuss your desire with your employer and see if there are any opportunities where you already work. Even if there aren’t, your employer will certainly be able to point you in the right direction for how to get started. They will know of training and certification programs, continuing education courses, or other organizations that can help you get started. Most employers are happy to help self-motivated nurses work on improving their skills and qualifications, so take advantage of their knowledge of the field. Once you are qualified, something may have opened up, and you will be the first person they think of.

Jobs for Informatics Specialists

A degree in informatics can lead to a variety of job opportunities that could be suitable for you. The following careers are available options for those specializing in informatics: managers, administrators, educators, public health organizations, research labs, pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, medical software companies, and more. Pretty much any career that combines the medical industry with technology will be a suitable position for an informatics specialist.

Final Thoughts

If your love for technology matches your passion for healthcare, becoming a health informatics specialist is the perfect position for you. If your ultimate goal is to become certified in this area, get started now by seeking out courses and certifications to expand your area of expertise and join the world of health informatics.