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Informatics Nurses, Their Roles and Skills Coursework

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Updated: Dec 14th, 2020


Being a relatively new branch of science, nursing informatics aims at integrating different theoretical approaches to patient care with the principles related to the acquisition and distribution of important healthcare information. With the further development of modern technology, the use of paper records in healthcare is becoming less popular due to practicality considerations and the low speed of data processing and distribution among healthcare professionals. Improving the quality of healthcare services and increasing service rates represent the pivotal tasks performed by informatics nurses.

The Role of Informatics Nurses in Healthcare Organizations

The establishment of a new specialty, nursing informatics, is aimed at filling the gap between nursing practice and information technology. The role of informatics nurses in healthcare cannot be overstated since they work in academic and clinical settings to provide other specialists (both nurses and IT professionals) with assistance in solving problems that impact the quality of healthcare services. Informatics nurses also referred to as nurse informaticists, have a great number of areas of responsibility because their work involves both the use of IT solutions in healthcare and aligning them with patient and staff needs. According to the results of a survey published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) in 2017, the majority of specialists in the field are responsible for system implementation and optimization and work in a diverse range of healthcare settings (Sensmeier, 2017).

According to the American Nurses Association, the key fields of activity for informatics nurses include at least nine roles (Lippincott Solutions, 2018). To begin with, these specialists are expected to deal with tasks that require having well-developed leadership and management skills. In connection with this, informatics nurses can perform the role of project managers. In addition, the role of these specialists is inextricably connected to analyzing existing data to facilitate the process of decision making. The range of duties that informatics nurses perform also includes solving tasks that are related to standards compliance. Thus, the work performed by these specialists can help improve the degree to which the standards established by different laws such as HIPAA are met (Lippincott Solutions, 2018). Because they know a lot about the needs of patients and healthcare providers, informatics nurses are often involved in consulting activities. By providing other specialists in information technology with assistance, they act as intermediaries between the developers of various IT tools used in the field of healthcare and end-users. Their work as intermediaries entails interfacing with healthcare specialists at different organizational levels and with patients.

Apart from the above-mentioned roles that these specialists fulfill, their activities involve researching various topics in the field of healthcare and evaluating the degree to which finished IT projects are user friendly. For instance, informatics nurses play a pivotal role in the implementation of new projects in nursing. Technologies that involve electronic health records represent one of the clearest examples of this tendency. In their study, Rojas and Seckman (2014) highlight that informatics nurses play a significant role in evaluating the usability of electronic health record software products.

According to the researchers, conducting usability tests requires having specific knowledge, and the presence of informatics nurses makes the process of testing more effective since other professionals may lack necessary computer skills. Informatics nurses take an active part in the process of EHR evaluation, and their contribution is especially important during the stages of “software design, purchase, adaption, and organization-specific configuration” (Rojas & Seckman, 2014, p. 217). Representing one of the largest groups of users of EHR applications, informatics nurses apply the NIST framework for usability evaluation (Mohammed, 2017). Theoretically, the necessity to create test scripts and profiles, define problems related to safety and implement usability metrics usually belongs to the tasks of software vendors. However, as Rojas and Seckman (2014) highlight, such tasks are performed in a more comprehensive manner when informatics nurses working in particular, healthcare organizations are responsible for them.

As part of their involvement in many activities related to information management, informatics nurses also act as educators who teach other nursing specialists and even patients to use different applications and software. According to Tyler (2017), these specialists actively use web-based education in order to reduce the number of hospital readmissions, promote self-care among healthcare clients, and therefore improve patient outcomes. In addition to providing education, the tendency to task informatics nurses with developing education plans and materials is becoming more common (Tyler, 2017). These professionals can also be responsible for preparing special programs for staff that is related to the use of new software or important information search strategies. In some cases, specialists in the field of nursing informatics also act as the evaluators of training programs developed by their colleagues (Tyler, 2017). Taking all these roles into account, it is clear that the opportunities of informatics nurses to make positive contributions to the field of nursing are numerous and extremely diverse.

EHR System Implementation and Leadership Qualities

As has been mentioned, providing other specialists with assistance prior to and during the implementation of EHR systems remains one of the key tasks that modern nurse informaticists perform. In order to help their organizations to implement EHR systems in a timely manner and achieve success, informatics nurses should demonstrate a range of leadership qualities. The demand for experienced nurses specializing in nursing informatics continues to grow (Kruse, Kothman, Anerobi, & Abanaka, 2016). According to HIMMS, the contribution of these specialists is particularly important during the phases of EHR implementation and optimization (Landi, 2017). The implementation of EHR systems is a complex process, during which informatics nurses should demonstrate such skills and qualities as proper technical knowledge, the ability to weigh potential outcomes and make decisions, commitment to quality, a focus on the end-user experience, and cooperativeness.

Nurse informaticists who are involved in EHR implementation are required to provide the necessary education to other stakeholders such as nurses. Taking into account that this involves close collaboration with people who accept changes in working processes in different ways, the importance of this aspect of leadership as a form of emotional intelligence cannot be overstated. In her article, Bird (2017) reviews the implementation of EHR systems and highlights the necessity to deal with end-user responses that are often negative due to their heavy workload. With that in mind, nurse informaticists who plan and provide staff education programs should possess well-developed skills connected with relationship management, conflict resolution, and teaching.

Job Description

A nurse informaticist or informatics nurse is a specialist whose key job duties are inextricably connected with the use of modern technology to help clients and improve patient outcomes. Taking into account that technology permeates all aspects of providing care in the modern world, these specialists may be required to fulfill tasks that are extremely diverse and involve different skills. The following activities are among the most common tasks performed by informatics nurses:

  • Conducting a thorough analysis of data related to healthcare information systems in order to identify potential areas of improvement and sort out priorities;
  • Using the results of data analysis to plan and design effective solutions that would help improve the degree to which end users are satisfied with information systems;
  • Planning and conducting the evaluations of new software that will be purchased and implemented, and using the results to inform decision making;
  • Using knowledge of information technology to identify potential problems with software, paying special attention to the needs of common healthcare specialists and their clients;
  • Using knowledge of nursing and technology to help healthcare providers and IT specialists to reach an understanding;
  • Analyzing and implementing practices that help ensure the protection of patient information;
  • Providing nursing professionals with assistance if they lack computer skills to use new software in an effective manner;
  • Facilitating the implementation of new healthcare systems by collecting and analyzing data related to the end-user experience;
  • Applying communication and collaboration skills to engage in teamwork and improve the use of technology in healthcare organizations.


Considering the nature of the profession, those who would like to take up a position in nursing informatics should develop a wide range of skills to cope with the key job tasks. The development of technology has a significant impact on the field of nursing, and the demand for informatics nurses is extremely high. The role that they play in different healthcare organizations cannot be overstated since they make a major contribution to the processes of research, data analysis, optimization, and staff education.


Bird, P. (2017). A day in the life of a nurse informaticist: Implementation support. Journal of Informatics Nursing, 2(2), 24-27.

Kruse, C. S., Kothman, K., Anerobi, K., & Abanaka, L. (2016). Adoption factors of the electronic health record: A systematic review. JMIR Medical Informatics, 4(2), e19. Web.

Landi, H. (2017). A nursing informatics leader parses the challenges of EHR optimization [Blog post]. Web.

Lippincott Solutions. (2018). Web.

Mohammed, D. (2017). US healthcare industry: Cybersecurity regulatory and compliance issues. Journal of Research in Business, Economics and Management, 9(5), 1771-1776.

Rojas, C. L., & Seckman, C. A. (2014). The informatics nurse specialist role in electronic health record usability evaluation. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 32(5), 214-220.

Sensmeier, J. (2017). Web.

Tyler, D. D. (2017). A day in the life of a nurse informaticist: The role of the informatics nurse in education. Journal of Informatics Nursing, 2(1), 24-26.

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