Nurse Informatics Certification
Nursing informatics specialists are at the cutting edge of technology, helping hospitals and other health care facilities to refine their use of information through data analysis, and benefiting patients by offering improved systems for health care delivery. Just think of all the bedside devices that now provide real-time or near real-time feedback about patient conditions. In fact, a 2015 survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HiMSS) shows that 60 percent of respondents reported that informatics nurses had a significant impact on quality of care.
Educational Requirements for Nursing Informatics Certification
Although a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically necessary to become a nursing informatics specialist, there are also certifications available that can validate a professional's skills. Two of the more well-known ones are offered through the HiMSS and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The requirements for certification are different for each, although the end goal is to certify nurses who have proven skills in health care information and management or nursing informatics.
There are two certifications offered through HiMSS: The Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS) and the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS). The first is for professionals who have less than five years of experience and only a high school diploma, and is considered a ladder to the CPHIMS certification.
The CPHIMS certification requires that individuals have a bachelor's degree and five years of experience in the information and management systems field with three of these years specifically in health care or have a graduate degree with three years of experience in the field and at least two specifically in the health care setting. Those who meet eligibility requirements will need to take and pass the organization's two-hour CPHIMS exam, which features 115 multiple-choice questions. Once passed, certification renewal is required every three years and can be done by re-testing or by completing the necessary continuing education requirements.
To become board certified (BC) through the ANCC, candidates must have a current RN license, two-years minimum full-time experience as an RN, and a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing or a relevant field. In addition they need to:
- Have 30 hours of continuing education in informatics nursing in the past three years
- Have 2,000 hours in nursing informatics in the past three years or 1,000 hours in nursing informatics and a minimum 12 hours of academic credit in a graduate-level informatics nursing program in the past three years or a be a graduate of a program in nursing informatics that includes 200 hours in a practicum
- Pass the 3.5-hour exam that contains 175 questions
Once a candidate meets these qualifications and is ANCC-board certified, they need to keep acquiring continuing education so that they can re-qualify when their certification needs to be renewed in five years.
Benefits of Certification
According to the HiMSS, certification can be a way to distinguish oneself and stand apart from others. The organization reports that certification demonstrates that candidates "meet a standard of professional body of knowledge and reach a milestone in [their] professional development. Many organizations require that candidates have certification and encourage employees to obtain certification." Of interest, nearly 30 percent of those who hold CPHIMS certification are chief information officers, or directors/vice presidents of information technology or information systems at their companies.
Other benefits to certification can include:
- Career advancement
- Employer confidence
- Increased professional opportunities
- More credibility
Similar to the HiMSS, the ANCC also reports benefits to certification. These include recognition of a nurse's ability to provide care and expertise in their specialty areas, according to the ANCC.
- 2015 Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/files/FileDownloads/2015%20Impact%20of%20the%20Informatics%20Nurse%20Survey%20Executive%20Summary.pdf
- ANCC Certification Center, American Nurses Credentialing Center. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/certification.aspx
- Certification Eligibility Requirements, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/health-it-certification/eligibility
- Certification Renewal, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/health-it-certification/renewal
- Health IT Certifications, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/health-it-certification
- Informatics Nursing Certification Eligibility Criteria, American Nurses Credentialing Center. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/informatics-eligibility.aspx
- Informatics Nursing, American Nurses Credentialing Center. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/InformaticsNursing
- Top Reasons to Get Certified, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/health-it-certification/top-reasons-to-become-certified
- Who is CPHIMS Certified? Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. http://www.himss.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/CPHIMSData.aspx