Ready to Become a Nurse Informaticist

I appreciate all of the questions I am getting from my readers.  One reader specifically asked me how to find a job in informatics.  She is currently a nursing informatics student.  Unlike a nurse, there is no “typical” job a nurse informaticist can have.  There are a wide variety of positions that a nurse informaticist can hold.  Nurse informaticists can hold executive positions such as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) to software application trainers.  I wrote about how I transitioned from bedside nursing to a nurse informaticist.

Finding a job as a nurse informaticist is a lot easier now than it was 10 years ago when I first started out in the field.  It’s because many hospitals want to qualify for meaningful use of the electronic medical record and are hiring as many people as they can to convert from paper to electronic.

Although I can give tips and advice to how to get into the nurse or healthcare informatics field, I cannot help you actually get a position.  Before you quit your present job as a clinician, ask yourself these five questions:

1.)  Why do you want to leave your current position? 

2.)   Do you want to leave your current position for more money?

3.)  Are you ready to give up patient care? 

4.)   Are you ready for a different type of stress? 

5.)  Is your mind open to learn new information and technology?

Answer these questions honestly and see if you still want to move from your current position to information technology.  I’ve seen nurses who thought they were ready to transition from the clinical side to the corporate side and failed. 

Everyone have different experiences as a nurse informaticist and transitioning from bedside to the administrative side.  I can only write from my own experiences from my previous positions.  I have held positions such as trainer analyst, nurse informaticist, healthcare consultant, Apache coordinator, and clinical analyst.

I personally had an easy transition as a clinical nurse to a nurse informaticist because I was ready for the change.  In addition, I had the passion for technology and for helping patients in a different way.  I didn’t make the career change because I wanted more money.   I had the opposite effect.  But because I had the passion, I didn’t care.

You may be wondering what the salary of a nurse informaticist is.  According to a 2011 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey, the average nurse informaticist salary in the country was $98, 702.  The salary has increased in recent years as many healthcare systems are recognizing the value for nurse informaticists.  In 2007, the average salary was $83, 675.  In 2004, the average salary was $69, 500.   The regions with the highest salaries are in the New England ( $123, 611) and Pacific ($116, 716 )areas.  It was also reported that nurses with advance degrees and certifications (ANIA or HIMSS) made more money than their counterparts who did not have a degree or certifications. It obviously pays to enroll in an advanced degree program and to get certified in nursing informatics.


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