Lots of high tech healthcare jobs are coming, if the estimated 9,000 new positions in informatics materialize in the next five years. According to projections of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an estimated 50,000 new IT jobs will open up within five years. Eighteen percent, or 9,000, will fall into the clinical informatics realm. Nurses specializing in IT should see a job growth spurt with healthcare facilities, vendors, consulting firms and schools.
The recent HMSS 2011 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey cited the average salary in nursing informatics was approximately $98,000, a jump of $15,000 from 2007. In 2004, the salary was only $69,000. Note that the respondents to the survey had at least 10 years of experience in the field, and most had postgraduate degrees.
Even the United Kingdom is gearing up for a job boom in the clinical IT field by urging all of its healthcare organizations to appoint a chief clinical information officer. At a time when most of the UK’s hospitals are laying off staff and invoking cost cutting measures, eHealth Insider, backed by the Royal College of Nursing, is encouraging the creation of an IT nurse manager position because “an organization with this kind of leader will stand a better chance of success.”
Back in America, if statistics, spreadsheets, information tracking and analysis are your passion, you may want to consider a career in informatics. If these skills aren’t something you use every day, boning up on spreadsheet and database nomenclature and volunteering as a superuser at your facility when new software is introduced could help position you for a new IT role when one becomes available.
In the age of the new Electronic Medical Record, which every healthcare provider must begin to use in the next three years, nursing informatics leaders are essential to the process of facilities moving patient data to a portable electronic record. IT nurse leaders will demonstrate to users and hospital executives what type of data can be tracked with the EMR, how the tracking model can be modified to track different data and how that data can be used for the facility’s vision of the future. As data tracking systems are improved over time, the IT nurse will develop new training modules and act as the go-between in vendor and user relations.