ORLANDO, Fla. — The chief nursing information officer (CNIO) position is often overlooked among health IT leaders. But just try to implement a new tech initiative in your hospital without a nurse informaticist to help determine the best devices and software to fit your workflow, and to evangelize and train the nurses on the floor who will have to use the system. It can be done, but the health care IT leaders we interview say that nursing informaticists are the linchpin to successful tech rollouts.
Here at HIMSS 2011, the Health Information Management Systems Society today released an update to its triennial survey first conducted in 2004. It appears that more and more, hospitals are giving nurse informaticists the credit — and responsibility — for the job they do. And they’re getting paid more, too.
Some 660 nurse informaticists responded to the survey, about half of whom indicated they worked for a hospital. Key findings:
- Their average 2011 salary is $98,703, up 17% from 2007 and 42% from 2004.
- They’re taking on greater responsibility: 57% indicated that systems implementation is their primary job responsibility, up from 45% in 2007.
- Of the 53% of nurse informaticists who indicated they also work on systems development, 62% said they are working on electronic health records and electronic medical records systems. A total of 77% indicated they work on “clinical documentation,” which would include EHRs. More in the “meaningful use vein”: 60% indicated they also work on computerized physician order entry systems.
- They’re experienced: 46% have 16 years or more of clinical experience, and 20% more have 11 to 15 years of clinical experience. A total of 39% report having a decade or more of experience as a nurse informaticist.
- Where did they come from? Top departments were critical care (44%) and medical/surgical (43% ).
- 56% had earned postgraduate degrees, compared to 52% in 2007; 35% had earned a master’s degree in nursing.
One other interesting trend: 52% report to IT, 32% to nursing supervisors and 22% to administration. This suggests a shift to administration, away from nursing (as in 2007), HIMSS said in announcing the survey results. To us, that looks like they’re moving on up as administrators realize and acknowledge the value of their work.