Nursing Informatics

Technology use in health care continues to advance, with nurses representing the highest volume of users – more than any other discipline. Ensuring that the technological tools used by nurses on a daily basis are designed to support workflow is essential for effective care delivery. The need for a skilled workforce in the field of informatics has never been stronger. Analyzing data using today’s technology for discovery, evaluation and decision support can improve care in ways previously not possible, even in the recent past. Informatics skills to leverage the emerging and available tools make this dynamic field exciting, cutting edge and essential for advancing nursing practice.

Nursing informatics integrates nursing science, information science, computer science and so much more. A master's prepared nurse who engages in nursing informatics is an informatics nurse specialist. As an informatics nurse specialist, you will identify, collect, process and manage data and information to support nursing practice, administration, education and research and the expansion of nursing knowledge. Nursing informatics has been recognized as a specialty in nursing with board certification through the ANA’s American Nurse’s Credentialing Center since 1992. Let this important field place you at the core of the nursing discipline.

Our Strengths

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s Informatics specialty is ranked as the #3 program in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2019). The program provides a solid curriculum that includes current and emerging data analysis tools, project management, decision support, consumer and population health, mobile technologies, telehealth, evidence-based practice and more. Nationally recognized, doctorally prepared faculty with real-world experience help students achieve their career goals. Affiliation with the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center – a nationally recognized leader in the field — provides additional resources to our students as they focus on their areas of informatics interest. A customized practicum experience satisfies national certification exam requirements, and personalized mentoring from expert faculty makes this program one of the best. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing consistently ranks as one of the top 20 graduate nursing schools in the country.

Our Curriculum

Vanderbilt’s curriculum offers content from foundations to innovations in the field of informatics. It has a strong focus on core, foundational concepts, but also builds content to higher levels of technologic sophistication – all the way to innovation. Essential skills are taught and practiced, and expand to many of the emerging competencies that will become essential in this ever-changing field. You will have access to extensive informatics resources such as multiple online databases for evidence discovery, statisticians, data analysts and clinical decision support experts. Our online courses are designed for working RNs who can apply content in their current work sites. Not only will you gain strong informatics skills and knowledge, but our curriculum — supported by collaboration with Vanderbilt’s Nursing and Health Care Leadership faculty — will prepare you to be an informatics leader of tomorrow. This program also offers the opportunity to seamlessly progress to Vanderbilt’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Educational Formats

The Nursing Informatics specialty is one of several specialties at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing offered in a modified online learning format that allows students to attend graduate school without having to relocate or give up employment. Limited on-campus sessions may be required. Clinical practicum requirements are negotiated in a best effort to accommodate a student’s placement requests. 

Career Opportunities 

Nursing informatics specialists (INSs) are needed in all areas of care delivery, including inpatient, ambulatory, home health, skilled nursing facilities and any setting where nurses provide care. INSs also work for health care software vendors to provide clinical expertise in the development and management of clinical systems. Additionally, INSs are employed in academic settings to support faculty using the latest educational technology tools and to educate our next generation of informatics nurses. INSs serve as:

  • Clinical Analysts
  • Health Information Technology (IT) Project Managers
  • Health System Implementation Specialists
  • IT System Education and Training Specialists
  • Data Analysts and Data Managers
  • Health IT Security and Privacy Specialists
  • Academic Educators and Researchers
  • Consultants
  • Informatics Administrators and Executives