Nursing informatics programs are often a great choice for those with interests in information technology and desires to work in healthcare.
A nursing informatics master’s program can help you gain valuable problem-solving and analysis skills while building your understanding of the healthcare system.
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Many of the roles nurse informaticists perform are fundamental to the health and safety of patients, as well as to the continued improvement and success of healthcare facilities.
Online Nursing Informatics Programs
The field of nursing informatics combines knowledge and information from several areas, including computer technology and information sciences. The goal of this field is to develop more efficient ways for nurses to relay information.
By advancing the ways in which nurses can share and communicate information with each other and with patients, nurse informaticists also help improve patient results. Examples of improvements created because of nursing informatics include:
- Electronic medical records
- Computerized provider order entry
MSN in Nursing Informatics programs online offer opportunities to strengthen problem-solving, interpersonal, and communication skills.
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Most nursing informatics majors also need to possess strong technology skills because much of the work involved in the field requires knowledge around the applications used in health care. Much like health information management degree online programs, masters in nursing informatics online programs typically require courses such as:
- Applied Statistics
- Database Management
- Clinical Information Systems
- Healthcare Quality
- Leadership Development
- Public Policy in Healthcare
- Nursing Ethics
- Information Technology Project Management
In addition to courses like these, you will likely be required to complete practicum hours as well. A practicum is an opportunity to apply all the theoretical knowledge acquired throughout the program in a supervised, real-world setting.
After earning a degree in nursing informatics, you can pursue professional opportunities in a variety of settings, including public, private, and corporate environments. Potential careers for nursing informatics graduates include:
- Clinical nurse analysts
- Informatics nurses
- Health informatics specialists
- Chief nursing officers
- Medical records and health information specialists
- Medical and health services managers
Many people who study nursing informatics go on to positively impact healthcare systems and the lives of both patients and practicing nurses.
Nursing Informatics Careers & Salaries
There are many careers available in the field of nursing informatics. Many graduates of nursing informatics degree programs work in public, private, or corporate environments. They often engage in everything from research and education to consultation and administration.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a graduate of a nursing informatics degree program you may be able to pursue one of the following careers:
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$159,010|
|Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners||$123,780|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$101,000|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians||$74,870|
|Dietitians and Nutritionists||$61,650|
|Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers||$48,860|
|Medical Records Specialists||$46,660|
It is important to note that most nursing informatics positions require you to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This means that you also need to have passed the NCLEX, the licensing exam required to practice nursing.
Many nursing informatics majors possess strong data analysis and communication skills. This allows them to collaborate with administrators and leaders in the healthcare system to make lasting changes to policies and procedures.
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Earning an MSN in Informatics can help you stand out as a qualified candidate when you apply for jobs after graduation. It also helps to ensure that you have learned the necessary skills to be successful in the field. However, obtaining an advanced degree does not automatically guarantee that you will find a specific job or earn a certain salary.
Where you live, the people you know, and your work history can all impact the careers available to you. Some of the careers listed above may require further education or work experience to obtain.
MSN in Informatics Curriculum & Courses
A nursing informatics curriculum integrates information from several different areas, including information science and nursing science. A sample curriculum may look something like this:
- Applied Statistics: This course teaches how to collect and analyze data, covering topics like generalized linear models, modeling clustered data, and linear regression.
- Database Management: This class teaches the foundations of data modeling and explores topics such as database design, data structures, database implementation, and file organization.
- Clinical Information Systems: This course examines technologies and concepts in healthcare information systems, including electronic health records, telemedicine, and consumer health.
- Healthcare Quality: This class explores modern theories and developments in healthcare quality and patient safety, covering areas like evidence-based interventions and coordinating care that supports diversity.
- Leadership Development: This course centers around the question of what makes a good leader, diving into concepts like conflict resolution, theories of leadership, and change management.
- Public Policy in Healthcare: This course explores the role of the government in healthcare policy, covering topics like accessibility, healthcare system organization, and healthcare reform.
- Nursing Ethics: This class combines studies in ethical and legal concepts and discusses how to use them in healthcare to guide decision-making and maintain a professional persona.
- Information Technology Project Management: This foundational course focuses on teaching how to create a thorough project management plan.
- Informatics Theories and Issues: This course combines theories and information from several fields, including computer science and nursing informatics, in order to explore topics like group dynamics and behavioral theories.
- Nursing Informatics Practicum: This practicum provides opportunities to apply the information learned in your nursing information classes to real-world scenarios and settings.
A typical nursing informatics curriculum can help prepare you for professional work in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, education, or research.
How to Choose an Online Master Degree in Nursing Informatics Program
When selecting an online master’s program in nursing informatics, there are a couple of factors to consider.
- Cost: There are nursing informatics programs offered at a wide range of price points. In addition to tuition, you also need to consider the cost of materials, such as books and supplies.
- Format: In a typical online degree program, courses are offered in live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous) formats. Some schools offer a blend of the two. It’s helpful to select a program that offers course formats that align with your schedule and learning style.
- Attendance: Although not all online programs require you to come to campus, some do. It’s important to check the in-person attendance requirements prior to applying to ensure that you select a program that matches your travel needs and abilities.
- Internship opportunities: Since a large part of a nursing informatics program is completing an internship or practicum, it is a good idea to see what is available at each school.
Keeping these factors in mind can help you make a confident and well-researched decision about your master’s degree experience.
Each informatics nurse degree program you apply to will have a unique application. Most will likely require a small application fee and ask that you submit some, or all, of the following materials:
- GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require these)
- Official transcripts
- A personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
- A resume or CV
The admissions teams for master’s degree programs in nursing informatics are eager to see an applicant’s experience and demonstrated passion for the field. Your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and resume are all great opportunities to share this information with an admissions team.
One of the most important things to consider when applying for master’s degree programs is the accreditation status of each college or university.
Colleges and universities that are regionally accredited have passed an inspection for quality by a group of assessors consisting of institution staff and external members. Things such as curricula, facilities, and teaching staff are all evaluated against a set of national guidelines for excellence.
Not only does attending an accredited institution raise the chances of receiving a quality education, but it also increases the likelihood of qualifying for job opportunities after graduation. It is also required for many forms of financial aid.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you are on a tight budget, there are several financial aid and scholarship opportunities for you to explore as you apply to colleges.
One of the most common ways to apply for financial aid is by filling out the FAFSA, a free form which uses personal information to calculate the amount of aid you are eligible to receive. The aid you receive may come in several different forms, such as loans or grants.
Another way to receive financial help is to apply for scholarship opportunities through your school. Most colleges offer enrolled students a wide variety of scholarship programs, for everything from academic excellence to community service.
Some companies and organizations also include tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits package. This varies between businesses, but you can always check with your employer for specific details.
What Is a Nursing Informatics MSN?
A nursing informatics MSN is a program that teaches the knowledge and skills needed to address communication issues between nurses and other healthcare professionals.
They typically cover how to analyze patient data, use data to change or improve existing healthcare policies, and lower overall costs related to healthcare. Attending an MSN in Nursing Informatics program can help you develop strong programming and problem-solving skills and advanced understanding of the current healthcare system.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Nursing Informatics Degree?
Completing an online masters in nursing informatics program can help you pursue careers in several industries, including healthcare, education, and research.
According to data from the BLS, graduates with this degree may become medical and health services managers, medical services and health information specialists, or registered nurses. Because of their strong foundation in technology, they may also pursue careers in database administration and architecture or computer and information system management.
What Does a Nurse Informaticist Do?
Nursing informaticists have many professional responsibilities. They are often in charge of analyzing and improving communication between nurses and other staff. They typically work to maintain and organize accurate patient data and electronic medical records.
In addition to implementing effective communication systems in the workplace, nursing informaticists may also train healthcare professionals in how to use specific healthcare systems. It is also typically the responsibility of nurse informaticists to stay up to date on the latest research regarding patient care and healthcare initiatives.
Is Nursing Informatics in Demand?
Yes, there are professional positions related to nursing informatics that are in high demand. According to information from the BLS, medical records specialists have an expected employment growth rate of 7% over the next ten years. This is on par with the national average for all other occupations.
Leadership positions in the healthcare industry, such as medical and health services managers, have a projected employment growth rate of 28% over the next ten years. This is a much higher growth rate than the national average for other occupations.
How Long Is a Master Degree in Nursing Informatics Online Program?
If you attend a 36 credit hour master’s degree program with no thesis requirement, you can potentially complete your studies in 1 year with full-time enrollment, including over the summer. A thesis requirement will add some additional time to completion, as will attending school only part-time.
If you have other commitments, such as childcare responsibilities or professional duties, you can research programs that offer flexible timelines. Factors like these may also extend the length of time it takes to finish a master’s degree program online.
How Much Money Can You Make with an Online Masters Degree in Nursing Informatics?
The salary you earn after completing a master’s degree in nursing informatics depends on several factors, including location, previous experience, and job title. The BLS lists medical records specialists as earning a median annual salary of $46,660. Individuals in this position often work full time hours and qualify for health benefits.
People working in leadership roles, such as medical and health services managers, tend to earn a higher median annual salary. The BLS states that medical and health services managers make an annual median salary of $101,340, with benefits options and retirement plans.
What’s the Difference between Degrees in Nursing Informatics vs. Health Informatics?
Nursing and health informatics are both fields that use data to solve problems in healthcare. However, informatics in nursing has a narrower focus.
|Health Informatics||Nursing Informatics|
Nursing informatics is a branch of health informatics. Health informatics programs typically have a broader focus on healthcare.
Is a Master’s in Nursing Informatics Degree Worth it?
Yes, a master’s in nursing informatics degree is worth it for many students. According to the BLS, many of the careers that can be pursued with a nursing informatics degree have projected job growth that is on pace with or faster than the national average.
For example, the projected job growth rate over the next 10 years for medical and health services managers is 28%. Working in nursing informatics typically provides opportunities to make a significant impact on patients’ lives. You may also contribute to changes in the healthcare system that benefit healthcare professionals and patients, which often makes this a fulfilling line of work.
Universities Offering Online MSN in Informatics Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Chatham University offers a Master of Science in Nursing with concentrations in Nursing Leadership or Nursing Education. The program emphasizes evidence-based practice, leadership, collaboration, and experiential learning. The program’s flexible online learning model is designed to accommodate the schedules of busy working nurses. The curriculum consists of 11 courses that are each 15 weeks long.
Chatham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Columbus State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Students can choose from concentrations for Nurse Educators, Nurse Leaders, or Nurse Informaticists. The program consists of 36 credit hours. Students attend all classes online, culminating their coursework with hands-on learning during their final clinical practicum experience in the field.
Columbus State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Excelsior University offers an RN to Master of Science in Nursing Informatics program. This degree program is designed for registered nurses who want to earn dual Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nursing. The program requires the completion of 142 credit hours total. Graduates often pursue careers as clinical analysts, informatics specialists, or clinician informatics coordinators.
Excelsior University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Ferris State University offers a fully online program for a Master of Science in Nursing. This degree program may be an excellent fit for individuals pursuing careers in nursing education, informatics, or administration.
Classes cover concepts like healthcare policy, organizational leadership, curriculum design, and advanced physical assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits to graduate.
Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Master of Science in Nursing program at Georgia Southwestern State University offers a Nursing Informatics concentration. The curriculum combines key principles from nursing, computer science, and information science disciplines. Students can choose from full-time or part-time attendance tracks. Except for in-person clinical experiences in the field, the program is housed entirely online.
Georgia Southwestern State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northeastern University offers a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics. The program aims to equip students with expertise in building collaborative partnerships, utilizing technological resources, and serving as leaders in the field of healthcare. Typically, students can complete the program’s 32 required credit hours in just 12 months. All classes are held online.
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Post University offers a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics. The curriculum seeks to provide students with the skills to leverage data, technology, and systems to improve healthcare. Most students can complete their graduation requirements in 2 years. Students can complete their classes 100% online through traditional, 8 week classes or a fully self-paced model.
Post University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Rutgers University offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Depending on their professional goals, students can choose a concentration in Nursing Leadership or Informatics. The total credits and clinical practicum hours required varies based on the student’s chosen concentration. All classes in the program can be completed using online, in-person, or hybrid learning models.
Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
South University offers an RN to Master of Science in Nursing Informatics. The curriculum is designed to teach students how to utilize informatics and technology skills in diverse nursing roles within the healthcare sector. This program is held entirely online. Courses cover topics like disease management, pathophysiology, information technology infrastructure, and database management in nursing.
South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Master of Science in Nursing program at Texas Tech University offers a concentration in Nursing Informatics. This program is designed for registered nursing students pursuing advanced practice informatics roles. The curriculum requires the completion of 36 credit hours. Didactic courses meet primarily online, though students must complete hands-on simulation experiences and clinical practicum requirements in person.
Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Thomas Edison State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Informatics. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours to graduate. Potential courses include Health Policy, Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, Database and Knowledge Management, and Systems Life Cycle. Classes are held primarily online.
Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Troy University offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Students can select advanced practice specialties for Healthcare Informatics, Nurse Leadership, and Family Nurse Practitioners. Credit requirements, clinical hours, and curriculum vary based on the specific MSN concentration chosen. All classes are offered online, and each one is 16 weeks long.
Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama – Birmingham offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Students can choose concentrations in Nurse Education, Nurse Management of Care Transitions, Nursing Health Systems Administration, or Nurse Informatics. Didactic courses meet fully online, and clinical experiences are completed in-person. On average, students can complete their graduation requirements in just 2 years.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Master of Science in Nursing program at the University of Pittsburgh offers a concentration in Nursing Informatics. The program utilizes a fully online learning model. Most students can complete the program’s 39.5 required credit hours in 2 years of full-time attendance. Classes cover concepts like health promotion, disease prevention, public policy, clinical information systems, and database management.
The University of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of South Alabama offers a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics. The program’s core curriculum aims to develop fundamental problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and active learning skills. The 100% online curriculum seeks to teach students how to design, implement, and evaluate valuable information management technologies and operations in the field of healthcare.
The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of South Carolina offers a Master’s in Nursing Informatics. The program aims to help students develop the skills needed to leverage data to improve patient care and healthcare function. Courses cover concepts like clinical research methods, healthcare database systems, and nursing statistics. Students can attend all classes fully online with full-time or part-time schedules.
The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Texas—Tyler offers a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics, Quality, and Safety. The curriculum emphasizes data analysis, information systems implementation and optimization, and quality improvement in healthcare. The program is housed entirely online. Graduates often pursue informatics roles in settlings like government facilities, consulting firms, vendor companies, and healthcare organizations.
UT Tyler is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Master of Science in Nursing program at Walden University offers a Nursing Informatics specialty. The program boasts experienced faculty, hands-on learning experiences, flexible online classes, and an innovative curriculum. Students can complete the program’s 53 required credits at their own pace. This program is designed for students currently working as registered nurses.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Waynesburg University offers a Master of Science in Nursing. The program is designed for registered nurses pursuing advanced roles in nursing education, administration, and informatics. Classes are held online, and each one is 8 weeks long. Students typically attend part-time and complete their requirements in just 2 years.
Waynesburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Western Governors University offers a Master’s in Nursing with an emphasis in Nursing Informatics. Students must hold a bachelor’s in nursing and work as registered nurses to apply. On average, students can complete their studies in 2 years. Didactic courses are held online, while clinical experiences are completed in person.
Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Masters in Nursing Informatics Online
Earning a master’s in nursing informatics can be a great step for anyone who has a passion for solving problems and is eager to engage in work that benefits others.
Online nursing informatics masters programs aim to teach critical communication, technical, and nursing skills needed to be successful in the field. In addition to working closely with patients, nursing informaticists can have an impact on the efficacy of healthcare communication systems.
If a career in this field interests you, you can start researching accredited online masters in nursing informatics programs and begin your educational journey today.