UAB School of Nursing’s master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree offers a specialty track in nursing informatics, a growing field that combines “computer science, cognitive science, information science, and nursing science,” says Jacqueline Moss, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Adult/Acute Health, Chronic Care and Foundations at the SON.The
Nursing informatics specialists “use technology to support decision-making in clinical practice,” Moss says. “Although they do some technical work, their role is really about deeply understanding clinical practice to the point where new systems work with clinicians to improve care.”
The program, which has been offered since 2006, includes classes in nursing, computer science, and business. Courses are offered online, with in-person class meetings as well. “We teach students to be change agents,” Moss says. “There is often resistance to new technologies and procedures in any workplace. And our graduates are charged with implementing multimillion-dollar projects, so they take courses in organizational behavior and project management, for instance.”
Students generally have worked extensively with technology in their practices as R.N.s, Moss notes. “We get a lot of intensive-care nurses interested in this program, because they are used to working in a very information-rich environment and see the benefits of new technologies,” she says.
Although more nursing schools are adding informatics programs, they are still relatively rare, and the SON’s reputation makes graduates a hot commodity. “In the last two years, our graduates have all been hired right out of school, and most of them are hired while they’re still in school,” Moss says.
To learn more about the program, including admission requirements, download a PDF here.