Nursing Informatics Specialists Play Bigger Role in Health IT

Survey results indicated professionals in the nursing informatics field experienced an increase in salaries and interest in additional training.

Nurse informaticists play a crucial role in the development, implementation and optimization of information systems and applications including clinical documentation, computerized practitioner order entry (CPOE) and electronic medical and health records, according to the 2014 HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, which examines the roles, responsibilities and outlook for nursing informatics professionals.

The survey, which builds on previous HIMSS research from 2004, 2007 and 2011, found overall satisfaction with jobs and career choices is high among respondents, with 57 percent reporting their level of job satisfaction as "satisfied" or "highly satisfied" and a majority (81 percent) rating a "satisfied" or "highly satisfied" opinion of their informatics career decision.

Based on the responses of more than 1,000 nursing informatics specialists, 70 percent have titles that specified an informatics position, which is double the amount from the last HIMSS Nursing Workforce Survey conducted in 2011.

Survey results also indicated that professionals in the nursing informatics field experienced an increase in salaries and interest in pursuing additional training within the field.

"The industry demands for more robust clinical documentation and analytics–such as those associated with Meaningful Use–have increased the need for informaticists across the entire care spectrum. This year’s survey showed a marked growth across the field of nursing informatics, as well as a deeper understanding and recognition of informatics as a nursing specialty," Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics for HIMSS, said in a statement.

Twenty percent of respondents have one to five years of clinical bedside experience, an increase from 12 percent in 2011, suggesting that there is increasing demand for the role.

Sixty percent have a post-graduate degree, which includes a Master’s degree or PhD in nursing or any other field or specialty, and 43 percent have a Master’s degree in nursing or a PhD in nursing, an increase from the 36 percent who indicated such in 2011.

"Nearly two-thirds of respondents have a post-graduate degree and 28 percent have a Master’s degree or PhD in informatics, which points to the fact that the field is rapidly maturing," Sensmeier said. "System optimization/utilization was a new option in the 2014 survey and selected by 39 percent of respondents, suggesting that we may be moving beyond simply implementing systems towards leveraging their value."

Salaries continued to increase when compared to previous surveys. The average salary in 2014 was $100,717, up from $98,703 in 2011 and $83,675 in 2007.

In addition, 67 percent of respondents indicated that they do not have a supervisory role. This number increased from 61 percent in 2011 and 58 percent in 2007.