Nurses boost job prospects by studying health informatics

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As healthcare in the U.S. continues to evolve, nurses are increasingly responsible for understanding and using high-tech electronic health records. These professionals can enter the burgeoning health IT field by seeking a degree or certificate in nursing informatics, reports Crain’s New York Business.

“Health informatics is a growing field in the nursing world, in which nurses are in high demand,” said Betsy Herlihy, the associate director for education, practice and research at the New York State Nurses Association. “Better informatics systems means fewer errors and safer patient care, so this is a very important part of nursing.”

Nadia Sultana, the program coordinator for nursing informatics at a New York-based university, said that education in this growing field provides new nurses with a way to study something that they previously would have had to learn on the job. She added that nurses who are graduating from her school’s program with training in nursing informatics are frequently included in the transition team when their hospitals begin implementing electronic health records, giving them unique leadership experience that may be able to help their careers down the line.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the nursing field are expected to be extremely plentiful over the next decade. Although there are differences between regions of the U.S., the overall job growth rate is expected to be 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, totaling 581,500 jobs.

In particular, the employment outlook in the offices of private physicians is expected to be even higher, with increases of up to 48 percent expected by 2018. By studying nursing informatics, healthcare professionals may be able to improve their odds of finding work even further.