A generally accepted definition was posted a few years ago by the American Nurses Association, ANA Scope and Standards of Nursing Informatics Practice, 2001, pg vii:
"Nursing Informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice. Nursing informatics facilitates the integration of data, information and knowledge to support patients, nurses and other providers in their decision-making in all roles and settings. This support is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology."
In relation to the person who desires a future in "developing" information systems, nursing informatics is the development, support and analysis of data systems used in the day to day function of nurses providing direct patient care. The amount of programming or pure informatics development each nursing informatics professional will perform varies by experience level and specialty. Nursing informatics professionals may work in hospitals, physicians’s offices, clinics, and general medical or mental health facilities. A certification process is administered by the ANCC American Nurses Credentialing Center which provides some insight as to the career path a nursing informatics professional might take.
Nursing Informatics Certification Exam
Please note that certification is not necessary to begin your career in the field of nursing informatics. The nursing informatics certification for professionals is generally a designation for those with work experience in the industry. A goal for the future nursing informatics degree student, not the starting point of his/her career. To apply for the nursing informatics certification exam, the candidate must have the following at the time of application:
- A bachelors degree or higher in nursing or related field, which may include general health sciences and computer sciences, or non-related field if a diploma or nursing training program was completed outside of the bachelors degree program.
- Must be a licensed Registered Nurse and practice for a minimum of two years.
- Must have one of the following: 2,000 hours already in the field of nursing informatics – or – 12 semester hours of graduate nursing informatics program coursework.
- Must have 30 continuing education hours within specialty or recently completed 200 hours of clinical practice within a graduate program.
Topics which appear on the nursing informatics certification exam are currently related to the "System Life Cycle" (planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing, evaluation, maintenance, support) "Human Factors" (ergonomics, user interface) "Information Technology" (hardware, software, communications, data representation, security) "Information Management" (data, information, knowledge) "Professional Practice, Trends, and Issues" (roles of professionals, trends, current issues, ethics) and "Models and Theories" (foundations, data sets, classifications, nomenclatures).
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