Reader Questions About Nursing Informatics Part 2

1. Do you need to have a degree to be a Nurse Informaticist?

Yes! To be hired SPECIFICALLY for a nursing informaticist position, the minimum you need is a nursing degree.

You can be an LPN and be a Nurse Informaticists. I personally trained nursing assistants who went on to become Clinical Analysts without even having a nursing degree.

CAVEAT: When an employer posts a job looking for a “Nursing Clinical Analyst” or “Nursing Informaticist”/”Informatics Nurse” position, then the employer most likely wants to hire somebody with a nursing background, and therefore somebody with a nursing degree.

But if an employer were to post a job as “Clinical Analyst”, then you could have any degree.

Always read carefully the job requirements! Also, read questions 5 and 6 on the first part of questions.

2. Can LPNs work in Nursing Informatics?

Of course they can. I have worked with many LPNs in the informatics field, and many started either as super users, trainers, or they were offered the position because they were identified as “computer charting savvy” nurses.

3. What is the best degree to get into Nursing Informatics?

For Nursing Informatics jobs you specifically need a nursing degree. It can be any nursing degree because you can be an LPN, or have an ADN or BSN to get a job as a nurse informaticist.

Maybe the question should be: What’s the best nursing experience I should have to get into Nursing Informatics?

As I have told many others, experience in the field is what will most likely get you the job.

Have you worked as a super user? If you work with an electronic medical record — how good are you with it? Do you train others to use it? Are you the go-to-person when an issue comes up that other nurses can’t solve?

Many nurses who started in this field simply were offered a chance to be super users or trainers because they were identified as being good with the computer charting, and from that opportunity they went on to get a job.

4. What is the work schedule of an Informatics Nurse or Clinical Analyst?

This varies by employer and by the application you maintain.

You usually work an 8 hour shift, 5 days a week.

Depending on the phase of a project, some days you might work longer hours, and a couple of times a year you might have to work at the weekend.

During the training phase or go-live phase of a project, you might work longer hours because you might have to teach training sessions after hours, or you might have to spend extra time with a user that has problems using the system, or other issues might occur which weren’t expected to happen.

Also, if you work for a hospital supporting an application, many times you will have an on-call schedule, and you might have to be on call on a weekend every so many weeks, or during weekdays, you will have to take calls at any time during the night.

And yes, there are also people who put in 10-12 hours a day because their main objective is to move ahead to a management position, and thus working 8 hours a day is not an option for them.

I have worked with some people like this and indeed, many make it far. It is true that they go on to make a lot of money too, but this is not the type of work schedule that everybody follows. Unless of course, you get stuck with a bad employer (as I’m sure there are quite a few out there).

I personally enjoy my work and even though there are days when I do work extra hours, they don’t feel like extra hours for me. Yet, I confess that testing is not really my favorite piece of a project, and 8 hours of testing seem like 16 hours for me!

If you have the chance to work as a consultant, then you might have to travel Monday through Thursday and work from home on Friday.

You could also work as a trainer for a vendor and you would travel to different hospitals within a week.

As you can see, the work schedule of an Informatics Nurse or Clinical Analyst may be different, depending on the employer and the specific role you have.

Chris (20 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge