It depends on what you want to do. If you want to specialize in NI in jobs that require an RN, then higher level nursing education is important. For example, working as project lead at a hospital site for the selection and installation of a clinical information system. The high profile, high responsibility, etc positions in NI require the higher level nursing degrees. For these positions, you would have limited opportunities for which lots of competition already exits. But if you are willing to work more on the technical side such as work in the IT department in the more technical aspects, then possibly. This would be a technical job in which you happen to also be a nurse. If this is interesting to you, then the next step is to investigate further with a hospital IT department (both big and large hospital) and find out what type of education/backgrounds they want. There are lots of people in hospital ITs without clinical backgrounds. Its not to say it would be better if they had clinical backgrounds, but its the reality. You can also contact your local HIMMS organization which focuses on the Hospital IT aspects. Also, be careful about the BIS degree. Some are not as technical as one would like. For working with a vendor in software programming, a computer science or engineering degree is usually required. A BIS degree would not be acceptable, depending on what it means.
Apr 19, '02
It depends on what you want to do in Nursing Informatics. Many nurses work in healthcare information systems as analysts with non-clinical and non nursing specific applications with Associate or BSN degrees without formal IS/CS/IT degrees; in installation of systems; in system design and in database design just to name a few. I have held several roles in healthcare information systems in both the acute and home health settings. In some of those previous positions I reported to nursing and in others I reported to IS. As a clinical analyst I held a BSN degree and had no formal IT,IS or CS degree. I have been Project Lead multiple times and without benefit of an advanced degree in either nurisng or CS/IT/IS. Many nurses work in IT/IS and not exclusively in Nursing Informatics but Healthcare Informatics. I am currently Project Manager with responsiblity for implementing 7 clinical applications in an acute care pediatric setting. It all depends on what the vendor or healthcare organization requires related to credentials, degree and experience. Are you seeking a position within the area of finance, bussiness or billing/ AR?
Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
May 14, '02
Thank you for your replies!
I've been thinking about a career in healthcare informatics and wondered what the best educational plan should be. I've decided to get my ADN + Computer Science Bachelors + Healthcare or Business Administration Masters.
I researched job openings at hospitals around the country and at companies that provide healthcare consulting. The ads seem to be leaning toward "Bachelors in CS w/healthcare exp preferred. But I have seem plenty that say"BSN required w/demonstrated knowledge of Unix, SQL,..." blah, blah, blah. But, as I have learned from working in my previous job, what they advertise as requirements for a job are almost always flexible when the candidate's entire qualifications are considered. I figure my educational plan will only benefit me once completed.
I was initially discouraged by the dearth of undergraduate programs that combine nursing with computer science or other discipline...until today: