Nursing informatics has become an increasingly crucial role in the field of healthcare. Nurse informaticists use clinical knowledge, nursing and informational science to develop and maintain systems that enhance clinical workflows and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes. Since 2004, HIMSS has surveyed the nursing informatics community every three years to understand the roles, responsibilities, and value of the informatics nurse professional. This survey captures the experience and background of nursing informatics professionals while also identifying changes that have occurred in the profession over the past 16 years. This document is intended to serve as a companion resource on salary and benefit information for the nursing informatics workforce.
Respondents identified their current base salary (not including benefits or bonuses) as of December 2019 within a salary range. Nearly half (49%) of respondents reported an annual salary over $100,000, which is a small increase from 2017, when 46% indicated a salary over $100,000, and an even larger increase from 2014 when only 33% of respondents had a salary over $100,000. More than a fifth (21%) of nurse informaticists reported making between $86,000 and $100,000, while the largest portion—23%—made between $61,000 and $85,000. The largest increase was in the $116,000 to $130,000 range, with 11% indicating their salary fell in this range as compared with 8% in the 2017 survey and just 4% in the 2014 survey.
As expected, there was a positive relationship between salary and highest level of education. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents with doctorates or nurse practitioners reported making $151,000 or more compared with 12% of those with master’s degrees and 4% of those with bachelor’s degrees. The majority of nurse informaticists with bachelor’s degrees (32%) and ADNs/LPNs (48%) make between $61,000 and $85,000 per year.
Also unsurprising was the correlation between salary and years of experience in nursing informatics. More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents with 11 or more years of nursing informatics experience reported earning more than $100,000 as compared with 53% of those with five to 10 years of experience and 28% of those with less than five years of experience. Nearly half (47%) of respondents with five to 10 years of experience reported a salary between $86,000 and $115,000, whereas 61% of respondents with less than five years of experience made between $61,000 and $100,000 per year.
Holding a certification in informatics was associated with higher salaries, albeit by smaller margins as compared with the effects of education and experience on salary. Respondents who had a certification specifically in nursing informatics were more likely (56%) to make more than $100,000 than those who were in the process of earning a certification (39%) or not pursuing a certification (40%).
The survey also collected information on the benefits offered through nurse informaticists’ employers. Paid time off, a new option in the 2020 survey, was the most identified benefit, reported by 86% of respondents. Other top benefits included having the ability to save in a 401(k) or 403(b) for retirement (85%) followed by medical/dental insurance (82%) and life insurance (72%). These numbers are similar to, yet lower than, the 2017 results by a couple of percentage points each. In 2020, 32% of respondents reported that they received a bonus as compared with 34% in 2017.
In comparing salaries from 2014, 2017, and 2020, nurse informaticists’ compensation is moving in the right direction. Most notably, the percentage of respondents earning an annual salary of over $100,000 continues to rise. In 2014 only 33 percent of respondents reported an annual salary over $100,000. In 2017, 46% made over $100,000. In the 2020 survey, nearly half (49%) of respondents reported making over $100,000 per year. The findings suggest that the value of nurse informaticists is being recognized by their employers.
The HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey captures salary, professional status and practice trends while identifying changes that have occurred in the workforce.