The Importance of Having an Effective Nurse Informaticist in Your Organization

We spoke with Paulette Schroeder, Vice President of Healthcare Consulting Services for Jacobus Consulting about the transformational role of nursing informatics in healthcare systems. Enjoy!



[0:00] Introduction

[0:51] Defining Nursing Informatics 

[2:20] Nursing Analysts vs. Nursing Informaticists

[6:36] When does an organization need a nurse informaticist?

[07:47] Where does the nurse informaticist belong in the organizational structure?

[08:35] The future of nursing informatics

[9:32] The role of nursing informatics in shared governance

[10:26] Conclusion

GUEST: Paulette Schroeder

PAULETTE SERVES AS THE VP OF HEALTHCARE CONSULTING SERVICES AT JACOBUSPaulette Schroeder, Practice Director of Clinical Informatics, Jacobus ConsultingCONSULTING

“Not only are the duties of Nurse Informaticists crucial to quality patient care, but the outlook for this career path is just as strong.”


Paulette is an expert in clinical leadership. For more detail, listen to her most recent audio blog: “Nursing Leadership’s Role in Systems.”


Defining Nursing Informatics [0:51]

The Nursing Informatics Scope of practice defines Nursing informatics (NI) as  “the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. The IMIA Special interest group on nursing informatics adds: Nursing Informatics is the “science and practice (that) integrates nursing, its information and knowledge, with information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities worldwide.” The application of nursing informatics knowledge is empowering for all healthcare practitioners in achieving patient-centered care.

Nursing Analysts vs. Nursing Informaticists [2:20]

If we look at the role of a Nurse Analyst and a Nurse Informaticist, we find that the Analyst is more concerned with the system functionality and solving a problem in the system, while the Informaticist deals with communication, best practice workflows, and the output of the system in supporting all clinicians. However, it is not uncommon for a Nurse Analyst to also be a Nurse Informaticist. As long as the role is well-defined so that the additional focus for the informaticist can be accomplished, this is not a problem. The Informaticists role is vital to the organization because Nurse Informaticists, as well as other healthcare informaticists, play a critical role in the continuous development and improvement of healthcare technology.

When does an organization need a nurse informaticist? [6:36]

At Jacobus one of our values is doing the right thing for those we support and our patients which requires people in the right roles. Therefore, a Nurse informaticist is needed all the time. This ensures the system and processes are continually focused on best practice and when changes are made to add information based on regulatory or other requirements, a review of the full documentation around the added component, flow of information and any workflow changes are addressed.

Where does the nurse informaticist belong in the organizational structure? [07:47]

Typically, the nurse informaticist should report to Nursing Administration with a dotted line to IT.  The role this position plays in the organization should be driven by the needs on the clinical side. They address the pain points in the organization and can bridge the gap between IT and the clinical areas.  At times, this role reports to IT if they have a larger role as an analyst, builder, and troubleshooter.  It is very important that if the informaticist reports to IT, that they don’t slide into the analyst role full time.

The future of nursing informatics [08:35]

Not only are the duties of Nurse Informaticists crucial to quality patient care, but the outlook for this career path is just as strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent increase in the number of available information technician jobs through 2024 — more than double the national average growth rate for all occupations. This is in addition to the already-strong outlook for registered nurses, projected to grow by an impressive 16 percent within that same time frame.  

The role of nursing informatics in shared governance [9:32]

Shared governance models were introduced to improve nurses’ work environment, satisfaction, and retention. One of the major roles of the Nurse Informaticist that we have discussed here is making sure that the clinician workflow is supported through technology.  This means to me that the workflow with the system enhances the nurses experience while they are caring for patients and therefore increases satisfaction and retention.

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