Do I Need a Health Informatics Degree to Become a Nurse?

A question sometimes asked by those interested in a career in nursing is if they need a Health Informatics degree to become a nurse. Healthcare informatics is a field that combines clinical information with technology. It is a vital part of the healthcare system, used to analyze and interpret clinical, administrative, and financial information. It is important in record-keeping, planning and implementation in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes or any area of health care. Because degree holders in this field can choose from a variety of healthcare jobs, it is a wonderful career field to go into and one that offers a variety of employment options.

Various Nursing Degrees

The education requirements for a person entering the nursing field will vary depending on the type of nurse that person wants to be. Possible degrees include Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and PHD in Nursing (DNSc). Licensed Practical Nurses provide basic nursing care under the direction of an RN or doctor. To become an RN, a person can opt to seek an Associate Degree which takes 2-3 years, or a 4-year BSN program. The Master’s Degree is usually pursued by those wishing to enter a particular area of specialty, and the DNSc degree prepares a person for a field in research. How far a person wishes to take his or her education will determine the education requirements as well as the potential career opportunities and salary. In any nursing program, there will be a varying degree of information technology education necessary that will be incorporated into the studies.

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing Informatics is defined as “the science and practice (that) integrates nursing, its information and knowledge, with management of information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities worldwide” (IMIA Special Interest Group on Nursing Informatics 2009). A degree in this field would prepare a person to work as a developer, educator, researcher, chief nursing officer, software engineer, business owner, among other career options. Nursing Informatics is sometimes an option elected by people wishing to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Is a Health Informatics Degree Required to Pursue Nursing?

In answering the question, “Do I need a health informatics degree to become a nurse,” the answer is no. The educational requirement to enter most nursing programs is typically nothing more than a high school diploma or the equivalent. Students are often expected to maintain a minimum GPA throughout the program, but there is no prerequisite for any college degree required to become a nurse. Nursing programs will include all of the studies required to pursue the particular degree being sought. Health Informatics is a very important field and one that is used by nurses as well as doctors, administrators, and many health care professionals. While Nursing Informatics is one of many fields that may be pursued by Nursing students seeking a Master of Science in Nursing Degree, it is not required to pursue a career in nursing.