Master's Degrees in Nursing Informatics: Online and Campus Programs

As a nursing informatics professional, you'd operate and maintain electronic medical databases, keeping track of medical and patient records. Read about on-campus and hybrid online nursing informatics programs, which usually include a clinical component. Find out how online programs work. Check the prerequisites for enrollment and the typical curriculum. Schools offering Health Informatics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do I Need to Enroll in a Nursing Informatics Master's Degree Program?

Although exact degree structure differs from school to school, nursing informatics is often considered a specialization area within a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. As such, gaining admission to a nursing informatics master's degree program requires you to have an undergraduate nursing degree, professional experience or some combination thereof. Most master's degree programs also require that you already possess your state nursing license in order to be admitted.

Either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) plus a bachelor's degree in an unrelated area are generally sufficient to be admitted into an MSN program. In some cases, a hospital-administered nursing diploma, along with work experience as a registered nurse and a bachelor's degree in another area, may be acceptable. If your bachelor's degree isn't in nursing, however, you may be required to complete some leveling courses in the health sciences before beginning your master's degree program.

Master's Requirements Undergraduate nursing degree (a BSN, or an ADN and a bachelor's degree in another subject), professional experience or a combination
Nursing license
Some schools accept a nursing diploma, unrelated bachelor's and work experience as a registered nurse, but additional prerequisite courses may have to be completed
Common Courses Clinical nursing information systems, database information systems, nursing ethics, web-based healthcare applications, electronic patient records management
Program Components 35-45 credits worth of theoretical and clinical coursework completed on campus or online
Clinical practicum involving extensive hands-on experience
Online Programs Distance learning programs available
On-campus visits or remote clinical practicum at a local facility takes care of practical learning component

What Kinds of Classes Will I Take?

Required courses generally cover nursing research, information systems and the foundations of healthcare programs. In addition to mandatory practica, some programs require you to complete a nursing informatics research thesis or project. Concepts commonly covered in a nursing informatics master's degree program include:

  • Clinical nursing information systems
  • Healthcare information systems
  • Database design and usability
  • Economics of healthcare systems
  • Informatics system management and troubleshooting
  • Nursing informatics research and statistics
  • Web-based healthcare applications
  • Electronic patient records management
  • Nursing ethics
  • Medical informatics project management

What Do I Need to Do to Graduate?

Graduation from a nursing informatics master's degree program typically requires the completion of between 35 and 45 credits worth of theoretical and clinical coursework. The theoretical coursework is generally delivered in typical lecture format, which are transmitted online in distance learning or hybrid programs.

The clinical practica take place at hospitals or other medical facilities, either on-campus or nearby. A few programs attach mandatory clinical laboratory hours to each required theoretical course, while others offer clinical practica as independent courses. Completion of these clinical experiences generally mandates extensive hands-on nursing informatics work. At first, this work may be performed through the use of simulations, but it will eventually involve real-life situations. In many cases, the final practicum will require you to perform all of the tasks that you will once you're employed.

How Do Online Programs Work?

You can earn a master's degree in nursing informatics through distance learning. You can access all of your course content and complete and submit all your assignments using online teaching and learning platforms, which are usually found on the schools' websites. You can also use these course delivery systems to discuss course content with professors and fellow students.

Guidelines for the clinical component of your degree will likely vary widely from one school to the next. In some cases, you may be required to make limited on-campus visits. In other cases, you can complete your clinical practicum remotely with the help of supervised videoconferencing or by working at a local, pre-approved facility.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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