How to Become a Nurse Informaticist
Because a knowledge of the nursing field is basically a prerequisite, most nurse informaticists are also licensed registered nurses.
After receiving their nursing license, most nurses who are interested in this field will get a degree in information technology and/or computer science.
Most will also seek a master’s degree in nursing. In addition to knowledge pertaining to nursing, nurse informaticists should also have superior critical thinking, and the ability to provide project management.
1. Get your Bachelor's of Nursing Degree (BSN) (4 Years)
You will want to get a BSN degree since you will most likely need a master's degree. During your time, you can choose to take information technology or computer science courses or perhaps major in one.
BSN courses focus on patient care, anatomy, chemistry, health assessment, psychology and pharmacology. Clinical experience in a supervised medical setting is a big part of nursing programs and will give you hands-on experience.
A conventional BSN program takes 4 years to complete. A popular movement now finds more and more colleges and universities offering students who already hold a bachelor’s in another field an accelerated route to nursing-program graduation.
These accelerated BSN programs take between 12 to 18 months to complete. If you already have your RN from an Associates Degree, you can do the RN-to-BSN program in 2 to 3 years, which can open you up to more opportunity and growth.
2. Consider Earning a Master's Degree (2 Years)
It's not necessary to get your Master's to be a practicing RN, but if you do get your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) you will learn more about the nursing field to better prepare you to be a nurse informaticist.
There are programs available for an accelerated master’s degree (MSN), which takes about three years to complete. More and more RN-to-MSN and BSN-to-Ph.D. programs are being launched as a way to meet the increasing demand for more highly educated nurses in the workforce.
Another accelerated program is being offered by an increasing number of four-year institutions. These programs, called articulation agreements, are formed in collaboration with community and junior colleges to enable associate degree nurses or bachelor’s degree nurses to effortlessly transition into BSN and MSN programs.
3. Earn the Required Certification
Regardless of the type of entry into practice program you attend, all graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before they can practice as a registered nurse. The exam is administered by each state’s board of nursing.
In order to take the test, you must first apply for your nursing license from your state board. Each state is different, so you must check to see if you meet all of the requirements for your state.
The NCLEX covers the following:
- Safe, effective care environment: Management care and safety and infection control
- Psychosocial integrity: Coping and adaptation and psychosocial adaptation
- Health promotion and maintenance: Growth and development through the life span and prevention and early detection of disease
- Physiology integrity: Basic care and comfort, pharmacological and parenteral therapies, reduction of risk potential and physiological adaptation
Training and certification as a nurse informaticist is provided by the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center (ANACC).
Should you decide that this challenging and rewarding field is for you, you can choose between becoming a Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT) or a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information Management Systems (CPHIMS).