• Nursing Informatics Certification and Competencies: A Report on the Current State and Recommendations for the Future

      Halimi, Miriam (2009)
      Background: Nurses have worked in informatics roles for nearly 40 years, but the phrase "nursing informatics" was not seen in the literature until 1984. Since then, nursing informatics has established itself as a professional specialty. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the official certifying organization for nurses. The ANCC has offered basic certification in nursing informatics since 1994, but it does not offer advanced certification in this specialty. As a result of revised certification that took place July 2008, the informatics competency level of the current exam is unclear. However, descriptions of informatics competencies for different levels of nursing practice developed since 2000 may link the competences tested in the exam more closely to the informatics nurse specialist than to the generalist level of the experienced nurse. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has initiated work to develop a certification process in Clinical Informatics, intended to be offered to physicians. Recognition of clinical informatics as a medical specialty is unprecedented. As with other medical boards, it would be possible to offer certification to doctorally prepared non-physicians who are working in the field. Objectives ofthis study: • To clarify the level of the current nursing informatics certification offered by ANCC • To advise the ANCC regarding the need, if any is discovered, for other or different levels of certification • To investigate the similarities and differences in the content and criteria for certification in nursing informatics as offered by ANCC and in clinical informatics as AMIA proposes • To formulate a recommendation as to whether Clinical Informatics certification offered by AMIA should be available as an advanced level of certification for Nurse Informaticians. Methodology: This study used a two-round Delphi methodology to elicit opinions from experts about certification in nursing informatics. IRE approval was obtained. The first round of the study consisted of 8 open-ended questions about nursing informatics certification based on the core content ANCC Nursing Informatics Certification exam and AMIA's core content for clinical informatics certification. The second-round survey, based on the information obtained from the first survey, contained nine statements that respondents were asked to rate on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Both surveys were administered electronically via Survey Monkey. Responses were anonymous. Conclusions: This study found consensus among experts on the similarities and differences between the competencies and core content of nursing informatics and clinical informatics. Experts agreed that there is much overlap between the competencies required for nursing informatics certification and those proposed for clinical informatics certification, but that each field retains some distinctive features. Recommendations are formulated for ANCC and AMIA on how to proceed with their respective certifications.