"Based on my limited understanding of nursing informatics, I believe it is something I would love to do. A couple schools
in my area offer a degree in Health Care Information Sciences; I assume that's what I'd need."
To know if this is the appropriate degree one would have to know what exactly in Nursing Informatics they want to do and what courses comprise this degree program .
Is this particularly degree out of the school of Information Sciences/IT or the School of Nursing (SON) or a combination?
"As Nurse Recruiter at my facility, I've attended job fairs in the area that are inundated with graduating seniors with I.S. degrees. At the last job fair I attended for our large 7-hospital system, we must have taken 300 resumes from people looking for I.S. jobs (not a single nurse was there). We have ONE I.S. opening in the system."
Some of the over supply verses demand you are seeing also has to do with experience. The IT industry is looking for experienced staff not necessarily new graduates. Within the IT industry (lets exclude IS/IT in healthcare for now) varing and different skill sets and specialized knowledge are in demand.
The IS dept of a hospital is but one area that a Nurse Informaticist could practice. Other settings would also include the Nursing dept in a hospital as a trainer or project manager ; for a vendor in research, development, marketing, sales, design, implementation, training etc. Openings in IS depts are varied and may or may not include the skill sets that a Nurse Informaticist has. They can range from Network Admin, PC tech to programmer. These people have highly technical skill sets that are taught in the traditional Information Systems and Computer Science programs. A NI may or may not have them. The hospital may not need application analysts as their current information systems products do not require analysts but programmers, etc.
Clinical Information Systems and NI programs require foundational knowledge in systems life cycle and principles of Computer Science along with an undestanding of how healthcare works and how the clinician's process work flow occurs. NI have an understanding of how data is transformed into knowledge and murch more. But think 'clinical' or think about the knowledge specific to the domain of healthcare even. The NI would understand why access to a pt's electronic medical record should not be the same for both a ward clerk and a nurse. That would be one of the differences between a NI and a generic IS/IT degree holder. The later does not know how healthcare works, has no previous experience with patient confidentiality or the data/information needs of the clinician/staff.
"Do you think the flood on the market of kids graduating with I.S. degrees is going to affect the need for Nursing Informatics people? Or due to it's specialty nature, it won't be a factor?"
I think the above answers this question ,they are two seperate and very distinct areas.