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Informatics Nurse Specialists

History

Informatics is the use of computing tools and applications to perform complex duties. Informatics nursing is relatively new in the health care field; as computers grew in popularity in the latter part of the 20th century, a growing number of nurses used information technologies in their work with patients, health care facilities administration, and in nursing education programs. The term "nursing informatics" was not commonly used until starting in the mid-1980s.

In an article entitled "What is Informatics and What Does It Mean for Nursing?" nursing informatics is described 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." In the mid-1990s, the American Nurses Association recognized the growing importance of nursing informatics in its publications Scope of Practice in Nursing Informatics and Nursing Informatics Standards of Practice. At that time, generalist nurses were qualified by their work experience or education to work in nursing informatics. Today, informatics nursing is a specialized field. Informatics nurse specialists must have either an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, national licensure in nursing, and a solid understanding of computerized health care systems and computer-based training software.

The health care industry continues to change to keep up with the continual improvements and developments in computing and communications. Informatics nurse specialists will be in high demand to help design and develop informatics solutions and to liaise between nurses and health care professionals and computer systems engineers and designers.

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