The business of healthcare information management is growing by leaps and bounds. Management of the health care industry and care delivery relies extensively on the collection and analysis of data. Data can provide information about the patient, provider, processes of care delivery, and outcomes of the delivery system. These data are collected from many individuals practicing in different specialties and must be integrated, coordinated, and managed. In an era of constrained healthcare resources, doing more with less, without sacrificing quality of care can be accomplished through the use of technology. However, leveraging technology to enhance nursing care will require workers who understand both clinical processes and technological applications. The President of the American Medical Informatics Association, Charles Safran, estimates that at least 6,000 nursing informatics specialists will be needed to help implement these initiatives.
What is the focus of the Nursing Informatics option?
Recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) as a nursing specialty in 1992, Informatics is one of the fastest growing practice areas in health care. Graves and Corcoran defined nursing informatics as “a combination of computer science, information science and nursing science designed to assist in the management and processing of nursing data, information and knowledge to support the practice of nursing and the delivery of nursing care”. The focus of nursing informatics practice is the organization, analysis, and dissemination of information, not the computer itself. Nursing Informatics Specialists assist practitioners by providing information to enhance decision-making and the delivery of safe patient care. Although they may not be directly involved with care delivery, their work is integrally related to clinical and administrative practice. Nursing Informatics Specialists participate in the analysis, design, and implementation of information and communication systems; effectiveness and informatics research; and the education of nurses in informatics and information technology.
Will I be eligible to sit for the Nursing Informatics Specialist certification exam if I complete this program of study?
Graduates of the Nursing Informatics option meet the educational and clinical requirements to apply for certification in Nursing Informatics, offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
What kind of nursing experience do I need prior to entering the program?
Currently there are no requirements for clinical experience prior to admission to the MSN program. However, it is a strong belief of the faculty that students admitted to the Nursing Informatics option must have at least one year of professional nursing experience prior to enrolling in the clinical courses.
How long is the program of study?
Students who choose the Nursing Informatics option can earn the MSN in four terms (one year plus one term) of full-time study. One may choose, however, to complete the program part-time over a longer period of time. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of admission. Students are admitted three times per year.
Who employs graduates with an MSN degree focused in Nursing Informatics, and in what roles?
Health systems across the country (and internationally), including home health agencies, managed care entities, public and private sector hospitals, long-term and ambulatory care facilities, and insurance companies, are searching for nurses educated in informatics. These nurses support the collection, analysis, and dissemination of clinical information. They are also integral to the selection and design of facility clinical information systems. Also, companies that design, build, and implement information systems in acute and ambulatory care employ masters prepared Informatics Nurse Specialists as systems analysts and project managers.
What are the classroom and clinical requirements for the Nursing Informatics student?
The core content examines the theory of nursing science, research and statistical knowledge and skills, as well as advanced nursing practice professional role development, management, and leadership. Support courses provide the basis for the integration of theories related to the field of informatics for the practice of nursing informatics. Courses include systems analysis, project management, financial reporting and analysis, database modeling, and organizational behavior. The advanced nursing clinical courses include both didactic and clinical learning opportunities. Didactic content is based on a synthesis of theoretical concepts for nursing informatics practice, and builds on the knowledge and skills obtained in the core and support courses. A total of 200 practicum hours are included in the advanced nursing clinical courses.
Who will serve as my preceptor in the clinical portion of the advanced nursing courses?
The UAB School of Nursing has a wide professional network within the community, providing opportunities to learn from leaders who excel in a variety of health systems settings. Preceptor sites are arranged based on students individualized needs and areas of interest. Whether we assist you in finding a preceptor, or you do so yourself, the preceptor should be an advanced practice nurse in an informatics role appropriate for the level of didactic course content of study.
What are the admission criteria?
What is a typical program of study like?
Students may begin any semester. Support courses are offered by the UAB School of Business, School of Management (MBA), and the School of Health Related Professionals. These courses are not presently offered online, but some will be in the future. Students may take comparable courses from other institutions with prior faculty approval. Students may transfer up to 12 credit hours into the school of nursing from another university. All core nursing courses are offered online. Nursing informatics courses are offered partially online with four Saturday on-campus seminars each semester. A total of 43 credit hours are required to complete the degree.
Fall- Year 1
• NUR 600 Research and Statistics for Advanced Practice - 4
• NUR 601 Role Development for Advanced Nursing Practice - 3
• HI 600 Analysis and Design of Health Information Systems - 4
Spring – Year 1
• HI 601 Databases and Data Modeling - 4
• MBA 610 Financial Reporting and Analysis for Management - 3
• MBA 618 Technology Based Project Management - 3
Summer – Year 1
• NUR 602 Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice - 3
• NUR 643 Introduction to Nursing Informatics - 3
• HI 585 Making the Computer Work for You: Introduction to VBA and Visual Basic - 3
Fall – Year 2
• NNI 621 Conceptual Basis for Informatics Practice - 3
• NNI 685 Nursing Informatics Practicum I - 2
• MBA 632 Organizational Process and Behavior - 3
Spring – Year 2
• NNI 622 The Information System Life-Cycle - 3
• NNI 686 Nursing Informatics Practicum II - 2
Total: 43 Credits
Where can I get more information?
For more information please contact:
Jacqueline Moss, PhD, RN
Assistant Dean, Clinical Simulation & Technology
Phone: (205) 934-0657