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Nursing Informatics or Neonate speciality, anyone?

Posted
by Len Len, BSN, RN (New) New Nurse

Specializes in NICU, Level IV. Has 1 years experience.

Hello everyone! 
 

So I’m currently a fresh NICU nurse and I was wondering if I could get some insight on nursing informatics? I’m stuck between staying bedside in the NICU, advancing my education within NICU, or taking a completely different turn and getting my masters in informatics? 
 

What I really want to know is how practical it is, how competitive it is, and is it worth it? I know it’s not common so that’s why I’m afraid to get my masters in a speciality that won’t succeed. 
 

my other question is what are my options in advancing in neonate care besides NP? Are there non-bedside options as well? 
 

thank you for helping me 🥺

Madmaz, BSN, RN

Specializes in Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

Hi there. It depends what you are are looking for out of your nursing career. If you want a Monday through Friday 8-5 job that is fairly routine and not physically demanding then informatics may be for you. I have been an informatics clinican for about a year and have learned it's not for me. I love the idea of using technology to improve nursing workflow and patient safety, but I enjoyed it more when I was the one actually using the technology to assist in the care I provided to patients. Now, I teach EHR classes and don't really see the immediate impact I provide to the organization. I also miss the excitment of critical care which is my background. All in all its a good gig but just make sure you realize its wayyyy different than bedside. I reccommend shadowing and joining your organizations IT/informatics committee to see if it is something you could see yourself doing.

Len, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, Level IV. Has 1 years experience.

16 hours ago, Madmaz said:

Hi there. It depends what you are are looking for out of your nursing career. If you want a Monday through Friday 8-5 job that is fairly routine and not physically demanding then informatics may be for you. I have been an informatics clinican for about a year and have learned it's not for me. I love the idea of using technology to improve nursing workflow and patient safety, but I enjoyed it more when I was the one actually using the technology to assist in the care I provided to patients. Now, I teach EHR classes and don't really see the immediate impact I provide to the organization. I also miss the excitment of critical care which is my background. All in all its a good gig but just make sure you realize its wayyyy different than bedside. I reccommend shadowing and joining your organizations IT/informatics committee to see if it is something you could see yourself doing.

Thank you for the reply.

I do like the idea of routine because of my GAD, however, I just don’t know where to start... I heard it’s very competitive and sometimes unrealistic. Did you get your masters or did you transfer to be in informatics? 
 

Thank you 

RuggerKJ RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Informatics, Critical Care, Case Management. Has 10 years experience.

Len, it seems like we were at a similar situation. It really does depend on you want to be. Here are my reasons for leaving the bedside, and no offense to anyone who works bedside. 

I have a 9 year nursing background in several units that ranges from behavioral health to intensive care. I knew straight from nursing school that I did not want to be 45 years old and changing and turning heavy patients. Either I was gonna go into management or, more likely, because of my affinity for all things computerized, go into informatics. Only took me 9 years and six units to decide to into informatics. Unit management seemed very politcky and high stress, so I went to school for informatics (had to stop d/t personal reasons). Actually, my window of opportunity for informatics finally opened this year and I took it. 

Informatics is broad but you have to first know it's like a totally new world. Yes, you can teach EHR stuff, but there's a whole world out there ranging from data analytics (which I'm highly interested in and am currently teaching myself SQL), Tele health (great for if you havr quality backgrounds), but most importantly I'm interested in being an informatics leader. 

How is the pay, you ask? The cards were in my favor and I got a more than 10% increase. And I didn't even finish my masters. So I went from working three 12 hour shifts in the ICU last year to working 5 days a week, off weekends and holidays, low COVID-19 RISK (I have little ones and a sickly mother-in-law), making 20k more than I did last year. And I'm very excited about more windows of opportunity out there. 

I know I might be talking it up, but from having been in many different nursing fields, I'm very satisfied that I found the one that I intend to keep. 

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions. 

Clin_Informatics_RN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Health Informatics. Has 24 years experience.

Similar to what the others said, working in informatics is very different than bedside nursing. Instead of working with patients directly, you work around or within the interaction between technologies, processes, and people in health care (I.e., informatics triad). I think you need to ask yourself if you have the passion or are really interested in working with that informatics triad. With your experience and educational background as an RN, you probably have a good foundation on the "people" (clinicians and support staff) and "process" (clinical and business processes) aspects of informatics. I don't know about your IT or IS background, but for the "technologies" piece of this triad, you would need strong knowledge and skills in this area. 

Even within informatics, there are many jobs or subspecialties. In my case, for example (I have been in this field for over 18 years), I have worked as a medical imaging software trainer, EHR implementation project coordinator, builder of an order entry module, EHR-related patient safety investigator, and a compliance analyst to satisfy federal and state EHR-related mandates (e.g., Promoting Interoperability Program, Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, etc.). I've loved my professional journey as an informatics nurse. Currently, because I'm not involved in direct patient care, I have been working from home full-time since March (and more likely to become a full-time setup once we're over the pandemic), and I really like this work setup... I'm just sharing the path I've taken in informatics to give you a perspective; I'm sure others have different experiences. 

BlueBSNRN

Specializes in NICU.

@Len I am exactly like you working in NICU but undecided if I should study MSN Nursing Informatics or just work my way up as a NICU nurse. Thankyou for asking the questions that were also in my head quite some time

RuggerKJ RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Informatics, Critical Care, Case Management. Has 10 years experience.

@Len

One other thing. I believe that clinical skills are very important, and clinical experience is just as important in the Informatics world as technical skills. This is because as an Informatics Nurse you will be primarily working with the end user (staff RN, physicians, ancillaries) and improving their experience. Teaching is a huge part of informatics. I don't necessarily love it, but it just comes with the job. If you have other technical skills, that will only serve you in the long run because there many opportunities to branch out. Just know that the learning curve could be steep because it feels like a totally new career path.

I find that leadership (project management and implementation) is a clear path in Informatics. You can also be a consultant, depending on what EHR certifications you want to obtain. If you like health analytics and are great with data, spreadsheets, and graphs that could be the path for you. If you like building (EHR, workflow templates, etc.) you work very closely with analysts and that door is definitely open for you. There are a myriad of options for you. And, as a clinician with a nursing background, job security and salary will not be a problem, in my opinion.

My advice is to have some sort of idea where you want to go in informatics and if you don't, just ask around and connect with an informatics team in your area.