In February, HIMSS released its 2011 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, and no one should be surprised that it shows nursing informatics is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare organizations.
Meaningful Use continues to be a significant factor in most organization’s strategic plans and, as a result, nursing informatics will likely continue to grow in importance and impact. That being said, there are some important findings to take note of.
The survey show that 52% of the respondents have less than sixteen years of clinical experience and that 31% have over twenty years. This represents a fairly broad range of clinical experience, perhaps suggesting that neither older nor younger nurses hold a significant advantage in performing this role.
A finding that appears to be extremely significant is that a majority of nursing informaticists spend little or no time performing clinical activities. The survey shows that 77% spend no time on clinical activities and 19% spend less than 25% of their time on clinical activities. This suggests that while the “train the trainer” approach is often cited as the best model for rolling out technology training, it is not the standard for informatics. Staff working in an informatics role are far more than “super users” and bring a level of knowledge and expertise that goes beyond technology proficiency.
Another significant finding is in the area of education. A total of 56% of respondents indicated that they have a masters degree, up by 4% from the 2007 survey. This is particularly interesting because the study also cites that there has consistently been a lack of formal training and educational opportunities available to for nurses in informatics roles. This presents a significant opportunity for colleges and universities to develop masters degree programs targeted at meeting the educational needs of this growing population.
To see the full 2011 report, as well as the 2007 & 2004 reports, you can visit the HIMSS Industry Research Page at http://www.himss.org/ASP/researchHome.asp.