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Informatics is one approach to the science of information.  It entails the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems.  In the nursing field, informatics naturally involves health care records and medical information as it relates to particular patients. 

The management of health care information has become an important adjunct to medical practice because the insurance industry drives medical care, and individuals are constantly changing coverage that in turn causes them to select new primary care doctors.  The other factor is the federal laws that have fairly strict privacy requirements on health care, which doctors and other health care providers are required to provide.

Nursing informatics is the application of information processing and sharing as it relates to the practice of nursing. Nurse programmers who design or modify software for use by nurses are practicing nurse informatics. 

A nurse in management who works with staff nurses to identify computer needs and implement them is another example of nurse informatics at work.  There are also informatics nurse managers who manage or administer information systems with particular recognition of the legal and medical constraints involved in health care information oversight

There are nursing degrees available with specialization in informatics.  There are also bachelors’ programs that focus solely on health informatics and issue degrees for a profession in the field.  The curriculum focuses on database management, including structuring data for entry that will fit the needs of medical practitioners.  The course material goes further into predictive modeling, trend analysis and data models that help hospital administrators, nurse managers and physicians grasp the level of treatment and the nature of staff interaction with patients.

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Salaries with Nursing Informatics Degrees

Average annual earnings with Nursing Informatics Degrees in May 2004.

  • Lowest 10 % earned $35,500
  • Median $41,760
  • Highest 10% earned $61,320

Related occupations with Nursing Informatics Degrees:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals $26,640
  • Nursing care facilities $26,330
  • Outpatient care centers $23,870
  • Offices of physicians $22,130