Have you heard the news? Nebraska Methodist College has just announced the area’s first Nursing Informatics option for Master of Science in Nursing students.
One of the biggest questions we’ve received since our announcement is: why now? Today, we’re going to examine this degree in greater detail, showing you how the healthcare field has evolved, how NMC is meeting the demand for informaticists head on and why the time is right for nursing professionals to pursue an informatics specialization with NMC.
1. Outcomes More Important Than Ever
The Affordable Care Act has changed healthcare, and patients and nurses alike should be excited about what’s happening.
Funding for hospital systems has become inextricably linked to patient outcomes. Because nursing is all about helping people in need, positive outcomes have always been the ultimate goal, but never before has such an ongoing and careful analysis been necessary to carry out at the patient and population level.
Health systems around the country are doing everything they can to create processes and policies that help the greatest number of people in the most logical way. That means taking a step back and looking more closely at the raw data, figuring out where the patient experience may be compromised and how to improve those parts of the process.
As a result, demand has increased for people who are able to fulfill this vital function…
2. Nursing Informaticists Step Up To The Plate
At its core, an informaticist is someone who can harness available data to come up with detailed plans that will improve not just patient but entire population outcomes.
Not just anyone can fill this role. You have to remember that every data point represents a person; a mother or a father or a son or daughter who arrives for treatment and never gets to see the behind-the-scenes operations of the hospital. They don’t think of themselves as just a piece of data that will influence a policy, and neither should the informaticist.
This is why nurses are such a necessary force for positive change in this capacity. A nurse has been on the floor and participated in day-to-day interactions with patients. They’ve witnessed firsthand how their own compassion, when combined with intelligent, thought-out policies, can make a difference in a person’s life.
Nurses are a perfect fit for the role of the informaticist precisely because they’re in touch with the everyday workings of a hospital and comprehend the minutiae that make a system run successfully. When given access to data, a nurse will be able to tell you precisely how to improve a process or policy in a way that will best serve patients.
3. Demand Is Great
An evolution like this isn’t without its hiccups, and the biggest one facing hospitals right now is the relatively small supply of people currently capable of stepping into the informaticist position.
Demand is high, and salaries reflect the increased need for nursing informaticists. A recent survey from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society showed that median salaries across the country stand at $93,000 for nursing informaticists.
There’s a reason Nebraska Methodist College has chosen now to launch this program. We’ve reached a critical point where, in order to move forward, informatics specialists must be retained by hospitals, but first, qualified individuals need to possess the skills necessary to take on these responsibilities.
4. Are You Up To The Task?
The coursework at Nebraska Methodist College is designed to prepare nurses to successfully transition into the informaticist position. The curriculum will focus on the specific knowledge and responsibilities needed to work as an informaticist, as well as provide broader implications of the job and its ongoing impact on the healthcare field.
In the process of completing coursework and fulfilling 200 hours of clinical obligations, graduates will be eligible for informatics certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which will enable an MSN-prepared nurse to step immediately into the role and make a positive difference in the lives of so many people.
5. Three Options for Nurses
All of the coursework takes place online, affording the working nurse the flexibility and independence to successfully complete classes without having to worry about sticking to a strict schedule. We know how important balance is to your life.
We have options both for Registered Nurses who have their BSNs and for those who don’t. For the former, you’re eligible for the MSN-Nursing Informatics option, which allows you to hit the ground running, taking your master’s level courses from the start so that you can enter your newfound field at once.
The second option is for RNs who don’t yet have their BSNs. The RN to MSN-Nursing Informatics option allows you to skip over the BSN by offering a bridge curriculum. Upon completion of those courses, you’ll transition to the same coursework as your MSN program counterparts.
Already have your Master of Science in Nursing? That’s okay too, as we also offer a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Informatics. This certificate allows you to focus exclusively on informatics and, within a year, will provide you with eligibility for informatics certification.
6. The Time Is Now
Our first classes begin in Fall 2016, and as you’ve seen, the time to enter the exciting (and expanding) world of informatics is now. Click on one of our handy links above for more information, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.