Informatics is a label being used to describe many educational programs from medical coders to biomedical informatics researchers. Providing education in this field has grown exponentially with the demand for more HIT workers. When we initiated our program, we made a decision to emphasize health care and not just nursing, although the bulk of our students are nurses. It was a conscious decision to not only include nursing but also other clinical disciplines, as the field of informatics is by its very nature interdisciplinary (Kulikowski, et al., 2012).
As an interdisplinary profession, discipline is built upon and contributes to the fields of computer and information science, decision, management and cognitive sciences as well as organizational theory. So when the program started in the 1990s, we wanted to ensure our graduates would be prepared to work in nursing informatics as well as having a broader perspective of their role and role of other disciplines in the improvement of healthcare. We also wanted to encourage clinicians from other health disciplines (medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, public health and allied health) to partake in our courses and our certificate program.
Our program has also evolved over time to recognize the changes in the field and the program is updated accordingly. Our program is based upon principles and concepts espoused by the AMIA Board White Paper (Kulikowski, et al., 2012) as well as the American Nurses Association’s Scope and Standards of Nursing Informatics.
According to AMIA’s White Paper, they view "biomedical informatics as the name of the core scientific discipline and uses the term health informatics to capture applied research and practice in clinical and public health informatics.” They go on to state, “clinical informatics (including subfields such as medical, nursing, and dental informatics) and public health informatics (sometimes referred to more broadly as population informatics to capture its inclusion of global health informatics). There are related notions, such as consumer health informatics, which involves elements of both clinical and public health informatics. You can access the AMIA White Paper here
Our curriculum builds on both the AMIA White Paper of definitions and core competencies as well as the ANA Scope & Standards of Nursing Informatics. The course plan reflects our emphasis on the various sciences (computer, information, decision, cognitive, management) within the context of health care and clinical sciences. Or faculty reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the field of informatics.
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