News Feature | May 5, 2014

National Nurses Week: Spotlight On Nurse Informaticists

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Nurses Use Information To Improve Patient Outcomes

While we gear up for National Nurses Week - May 6 to May 12 - it’s only appropriate to highlight the growing role of nurse informaticists, a field that has more than doubled since 2011.

This week has been designated National Nurses Week, starting May 6 and running through May 12 - the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Nursing has grown by leaps and bounds since Nightingale founded it, to the point that today the profession is facing shortages of qualified individuals.

One particular segment of nursing - nurse informaticist - demonstrates path nursing has taken over the years. With more emphasis placed on statistics and technology in healthcare over the last several years, the number of nurse informaticists has more than doubled and there are a number of opening for people with the training needed.

What is nursing informatics? According to HIMSS, it is a "specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. NI supports consumers, 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.”

The American Medical Informatics Association breaks down the core areas of work as follows:

  • concept representation and standards to support evidence-based practice, research, and education
  • data and communication standards to build an interoperable national data infrastructure
  • research methodologies to disseminate new knowledge into practice
  • information presentation and retrieval approaches to support safe patient centered care
  • information and communication technologies to address inter-professional work flow needs across all care venues
  • vision and management for the development, design, and implementation of communication and information technology
  • definition of healthcare policy to advance the public’s health

According to the 2014 HIMSS Nursing Workforce Survey, “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/health records.”

Health IT Outcomes reports the results of the HIMSS survey when it was released, writing, “Based on the responses of more than 1,000 nursing informatics specialists, 70 percent have titles that specified an informatics position,” said the report.

“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,” said Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics for HIMSS in a statement.