More Informatics Experience Means More Money for Nurses

By Scott E. Rupp, via Multibriefs

One of the great things about the HIMSS Annual Conference and Expo is the amount of research and revelations to come from the organization each February or so. For those who track the day-to-day happenings of healthcare, HIMSS provides a cornucopia of information and an Easter basket full of goodies in regard to data that’s ready for consumption.

Generally, the data sets are fairly sound; not always. For the weary of mind, perhaps some of the HIMSS research data needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but most times there are jewels.

With that, HIMSS17 is no different, so let’s let the prognostication begin. New research from HIMSS' analytics arm shows a bit more insight into the working world of caregivers throughout the world’s health systems.

For the nursing population specifically, experience and salary continue to increase for nursing informatics specialists, as reported in the HIMSS 2017 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey.

HIMSS been tracking the upward trajectory of this specialty in 2004 and recently announced this year’s results. Eighty percent of those who responded to the report said they are "satisfied" or "highly satisfied" with their careers. One reason may be that their salaries continue to rise. Nearly half of respondents indicated a base salary of more than $100,000, with 34 percent also reporting that they received a bonus.

Likewise, those who hold a certification in nursing informatics or a post-graduate degree had a higher salary than those without. Not surprising at all.

More than half of those with a certification or post-graduate degree made more than $100,000 a year compared to 37 percent of those without. Take a look:

  • 2017 salary, 46 percent made more than $100,000
  • 2014 salary, 33 percent made more than $100,000

According to HIMSS, "professional development continues to be a high priority, as (more than) half of the survey respondents reported having a post-graduate degree; increasingly that degree is in informatics or nursing informatics. And, 41 percent of these nurses are currently enrolled in a formal informatics education program. Certification was also achieved by nearly half of respondents, making an impact on their career."

Two-fifths of respondents have moved into a new role with greater responsibility after achieving certification.

  • 57 percent hold a post-graduate degree
  • 29 percent hold a master’s degree or Ph.D. in informatics

Informatics nurses are also increasing in their years of experience. A majority of this year's respondents said they has seven or more years of informatics experience, and one-third have been in their current position for more than five years.

The basic fact here is that those with more experience make more money. This isn’t specific to healthcare, but, alas, it’s a point HIMSS seems it wants to make.

  • Informatics Experience
    • more than 10 years = 31 percent
    • 5-10 years = 36 percent
    • 1-4 years = 24 percent

While the majority of respondents still report to the information systems/technology department of their organization, there seems to be a shift with an increase in the number of respondents reporting to administration or corporate headquarters.

That shift is likely going to continue as the health IT sector evolves and budgets move more toward data analytics, data protection, access, patient engagement and security.

Scott E. Rupp is a writer and an award-winning journalist focused on healthcare technology. He has worked as a public relations executive for a major electronic health record/practice management vendor, and he currently manages his own agency, millerrupp. In addition to writing for a variety of publications, Scott also offers his insights on healthcare technology and its leaders on his site, Electronic Health Reporter.

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