Get answers to frequently asked questions about perioperative informatics. 

  • What is nursing informatics?

    Nursing Informatics is not about nursing the computer. The computer is the tool for the nurse informaticist and the perioperative clinical nurse, similar to the stethoscope being the tool for the bedside nurse. In 1989, Graves and Corcoran defined “the core of the science of nursing informatics is the commodities that computers process (data, information, knowledge) and not the computer itself.”¹ Prior to that time, nursing informatics definitions were more technology oriented and “underemphasized the need for the informatics nurse specialist to support the cognitive interaction between the nurse, the nursing process, nursing data, patients and the technology”². In the 1990s Graves and Corcoran asserted that nursing informatics combines nursing science, information science and computer science to manage and process nursing data. In 2008, the American Nurses Association defined Nursing Informatics in the Scope and Standards of Practice as:

    “a specialty that integrates nursing science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice. Nursing Informatics supports patients, nurses and other providers in their decision-making in all roles and settings. This support is accomplished through the use of information technology and information structures, which organize data, information and knowledge for processing by computers.”³

    The nursing informatics specialty involves understanding and working to improve the interaction between the nurse and patient using technology. The goal of nursing informatics is to have technology enhance nursing care for patients and their families by providing up-to-date, accurate information for each step of the nursing process which is the power behind high quality, safe patient centered care.


    • Graves, JR, Corcoran S. The study of nursing informatics. Image: J Nurs Scholarship. 1989; 21(4) 227-231.
    • Staggers N, Thompson CB. The evolution of definitions for nursing informatics: a critical analysis and revised definition. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2002;9(3):257. . Accessed October 20, 2009.
    • Nursing Informatics. Scope and Standards of Practice. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association (ANA); 2008:1, 177.

    Updated September 2013.

  • What are some nursing informatics organizations?
    The Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI)
    ANI is a collaboration of organizations that represent a unified voice for nursing informatics. ANI provides the synergy and structure needed to advance the efforts of nursing informatics professionals in improving the delivery of patient care. ANI advances nursing informatics leadership, practice, education, policy and research through a unified voice of nursing informatics organizations.

    American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)
    ANIA is an association of professional nurses and associates who are committed to their specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing and informatics practice. ANIA members identify informatics practice as a specialty that is essential to the delivery of high quality, and cost-effective health care and are committed to their professional development and seek to actively engage in a community of like-minded professionals. ANIAs mission is to advance the field of nursing informatics through communication, education, research and professional activities.

    Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform (TIGER)
    TIGER enables nurses and interprofessional colleagues to use informatics and emerging technologies to make healthcare safer, more effective, efficient, patient-centered, timely and equitable by interweaving evidence and technology seamlessly into practice, education and research fostering a learning healthcare system. The TIGER Initiative Foundation goal is to implement and integrate TIGER recommendations across the continuum of care by:

    • Dissemination of recommendations of nine collaboratives and completion of collaborative reports developed in TIGER Phase II
    • Developing funding for, pilots and implementation of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to enhance the adoption of informatics and technology (e.g., competencies, national QSEN competencies, competency examinations)
    • Exploring the application and integration of TIGER Phases I and II with nursing, interdisciplinary and allied health stakeholders through an interdisciplinary invitational symposium
    • Addressing TIGER-related implications relevant to future workforce issues with specific emphasis for bridging the digital divide with minority, rural populations and consumers
    • Longer term implications of use of EHRs and PHRs in future Best Practices Decision-Support such as: Comparative Effectiveness Research and Personalized Medicine
    • Planting seeds for TIGER International roll-out
    Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
    HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. HIMSS produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world.

    HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work as a healthcare provider, or in governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations share this cause. Stakeholder groups help HIMSS establish strategic direction and official positions on issues pertaining to the best use of IT and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.

    HIMSS provides a unique forum for its members to collaborate on programs and initiatives that contribute to the common good. They fund activities which enable individuals and groups to gain consensus on best/common practices, equip stakeholders with tools and resources to transform healthcare within a care setting, learn from each other and create positions. Examples include Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), the Alliance for Nursing Informatics, senior IT executive community, the Annual Conference & Exhibition and the Latino Initiative.

    American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
    AMIA is the professional home of leading informaticians: clinicians, scientists, researchers, educators, students, and other informatics professionals who rely on data to connect people, information, and technology. It is the center of action for more than 4,000 health care professionals,informatics researchers, and thought-leaders in biomedicine, health care and science. AMIA is an unbiased, authoritative source within the informatics community and the health care industry. AMIA and its members are transforming healthcare through trusted science, education, and practice in biomedical and health informatics. AMIA supports Translational Bioinformatics, Clinical Research Informatics, Clinical Informatics, Consumer Health Informatics, and Public Health Informatics.

    Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing (ICIRN)
    ICIRN is a voluntary group made up of agencies and organizations concerned with providing library and informational resources for nursing and improving access to library services for all nurses. Each member organization appoints a representative and an alternate, usually a nurse or librarian, to serve on the Council. ICIRNs mission is to establish an effective system of information resources in nursing to advance the profession through the promotion and use of its literature.

    Updated September 2013.

  • How do I get a nursing informatics certification?

    The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

    The largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization in the United States and a subsidiary of the ANA. They are trusted and committed to quality, nationally accredited and a true gauge of a nurse’s ability as an expert in their specialty. Once you have taken the exam and successfully passed, you are awarded the credentials: Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC). ANCC offers a variety of specialty certifications, but currently only one focused on nursing informatics.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Hold a current, active RN license within a state or territory of the United States
    • BSN or BS in “related field”
    • Practiced two (2) years full-time as an RN
    • Completed 30 continuing education hours in Informatics within the last three years
    • Meet one of the following practice hour requirements:
      • Practiced a minimum of 2,000 hours in informatics within the last 3 years
      • Practiced a minimum of 1,000 hours in informatics nursing in the last 3 years and completed a minimum of 12 semester hours of academic credit in informatics courses that are part of a graduate-level informatics nursing program
      • Completed a graduate program in informatics nursing containing a minimum of 200 hrs of faculty-supervised practicum in informatics nursing

    American Nurses’ Association Credentialing Center Board Certification in Nursing Informatics website.

    Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 

    A global, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. They equip stakeholders with the education, knowledge, tools and resources they need to transform healthcare where they work and live. HIMSS offer two health IT certification exams.

    The Certified Associate in Healthcare Information & Management (CAHIMS)

    A new HIMSS health IT certification designed for emerging professionals facilitating entry-level careers in health IT and management systems. It is designed to be a career pathway to the CPHIMS credential.

    Eligibility Criteria: 
    • Five (5) years or less work experience in health IT
    • Individuals looking to work in the healthcare setting or mid-level professional seeking change
    • Non-IT professional working in other departments, who work as an extension of the IT department
    • Those who want to learn more about health IT, including clinicians
    • Those enrolled in an academic program at the undergraduate or graduate level
    • Veterans returning to active duty
    Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Heath IT Certifications

    The Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS)

    A professional certification program for healthcare professionals with proven expertise in healthcare information and management systems.

    Eligibility Criteria: 

    • BS plus five (5) years information and management system experience, three (3) of those years in healthcare
    • Graduate Degree plus three (3) years of associated information and management systems experience, two (2) of those years in healthcare

    Updated September 2013.