Survey: Nursing informatics grows as a specialty

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Nurse informaticists are growing in importance as the healthcare industry becomes increasingly high-tech, according to a new study from HIMSS and sponsored by McKesson.

“Survey results demonstrate not only the maturing of the specialty, but the importance of the nurse informatacist in providing the necessary expertise to ensure that information technology and information systems are designed and implemented to support nursing practice, and improve patient and population health,” said Joyce Sensmeier, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, vice president of HIMSS Informatics.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • In the 2007 survey more respondents (34 percent) were likely than those in the 2004 survey (21 percent) to report having formal informatics training. Twelve percent of respondents stated that they are currently enrolled in a program for training in the area;

  • One-third of respondents report that they have been a nurse informaticist for at least 10 years, while another quartet have been drawn into the field over the past two years;
  • Nurse informaticists seem to now have more responsibility. According to the 2007 survey, respondents are managing a higher number of individuals than they were in 2004;
  • As for carrier barriers, new on the list in 2007 survey is the issue of integration and interoperability. One quarter or respondents indicated this as a problem;
  • Nurses continue to use Web sites and the Internet as significant resources for carrying out day-to-day functions. Other major sources are list services and journals;
  • On a very positive note, salaries have one up. The average salary of 2007 respondents is over $83,000, whereas the average was reported at around $69,500 in 2004; and
  • Fifty-four percent of survey respondents work at a hospital and another 16 percent work at the corporate offices of a healthcare system.