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Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Career Overview

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Mar 26, 2024
Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Shaking Hands With a Doctor in a Medical Facility.

Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Career Overview

The rapidly growing field of health informatics has created positive paradigm shifts in care delivery. Concepts such as electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth, clinical decision support systems (CDSS), and wearable technology have supercharged a nurse’s ability to gather and analyze patient data and share results with other health care professionals. When utilized properly, these forms of health informatics can coalesce into a streamlined process that can make a facility’s ultimate goal of providing optimal care that improves patient lives more attainable.

In nursing, the effectiveness of health informatics is only as good as its utilization strategies. It takes strong, decisive leadership to successfully develop and implement informatics plans that influence organizational nursing care concepts, such as evidence-based practice. The need for such leadership makes the role of the chief nursing informatics officer (CNIO) critical. 

The work conducted by those in this C-suite role provides a facility’s nursing staff with the guardrails needed to properly utilize the wide range of health informatics technology in its current and evolving states. The role is ideal for tech-savvy nurses equipped with an advanced nursing degree and leadership ambitions to pursue; however, before they embark on this professional pathway, it’s important for them to fully grasp a CNIO’s duties and understand what the road to the role looks like.

What Does a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Do?

A chief nursing informatics officer oversees a health care facility’s information technology (IT) strategies. CNIOs design, develop, and implement informatics-driven plans that meet and improve a facility’s care delivery needs and capabilities. This requires them to identify technologies as they emerge and evolve and determine whether they carry enough impact to be implemented. CNIOs also monitor existing health informatics systems to ensure optimal performance, making adjustments that strive to improve outcomes if necessary. 

Additionally, those in the role collaborate with IT leaders and other health care professionals to ensure proper integration within a facility’s other clinical strategies, such as evidence-based practice. CNIOs must also be cognizant of any changes to any laws or regulatory practices that may occur, ensuring that their informatics strategies remain compliant with these changes.

A CNIO’s ability to develop and execute solid health informatics strategies stems from a complex knowledge base. They typically lean into their knowledge of patient care delivery as well as high-level concepts, such as change management, to make optimal decisions regarding current and potential informatics systems. As leaders, they also tap into their leadership abilities to help develop a tech-savvy nursing staff that knows how to effectively utilize health informatics materials.

Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Salary and Job Outlook 

The role of the chief nursing informatics officer is crucial in modern health care, and the pay associated with it reflects its importance. The salary aggregate site Payscale categorizes the CNIO position under the chief information officer (CIO) position; as of February 2024, it lists the median annual salary for CIOs at approximately $174,920.

Several influencing factors can dictate the precise salary amount that a CNIO may receive. These factors can include years of experience, education level, and type of health care facility. Job location can also be a prime factor, as a CNIO who works in a city or region with a higher cost of living may earn more than a CNIO who works in a city or region with a lower cost of living.

The job outlook for CNIOs also looks bright. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job growth rate for medical and health services managers — a category that can include CNIOs — is projected to be 28% between 2022 and 2032. This job growth rate is substantially higher than the 3% that the BLS projects for other professions.

How to Become a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer

The first step to becoming a chief nursing informatics officer involves education. This initially involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree and gaining experience as a licensed registered nurse. The latter element will prepare individuals to pursue an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). While not technically required, an advanced degree is a prerequisite that most employers have.

It’s equally important for prospective CNIOs to gain relevant experience as they advance their education. In addition to cultivating their nursing skills, CNIOs can also seek out roles that expose them to various IT structures, systems, and models. This ultimately makes it possible to develop a holistic skill set that enables them to make the decisions necessary to optimize the usage of health informatics in a health care facility.

Individuals may also want to consider obtaining a relevant certification. While the CNIO profession doesn’t have a specific certification, obtaining certification in an adjacent field, such as health administration or clinical nurse leadership, may further affirm the type of acumen needed to succeed in a C-suite role. These certifications may also help individuals stand out from other candidates in the job field. 

Get Ready to Lead

The work of a chief nursing information officer makes it possible for health informatics systems to transform from a good idea to a game-changing care delivery concept. By making sense of health informatics systems and strategies as they emerge and change — and more important, understanding how to use them — CNIOs can help streamline a health care facility’s care deliveries and processes. Ultimately, their work can make the goal of improved patient care and outcomes more attainable for a facility.

The University of Tulsa’s online MSN program can help you prepare to excel within this intriguing career path. Our program is designed to help you fortify your health care knowledge while also helping to hone the skills needed to provide impactful leadership to shape a facility’s future. Learn how we can help you transform into a trusted leader in health care.

Recommended Readings

How to Become a Chief Nursing Officer

What Does a Charge Nurse Do?

International Travel Nursing: How to Work Abroad as a Nurse


American Nurses Association, What Is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?

Centers for Medical & Medicare Services, Electronic Health Records 

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Job Description

Indeed, “How to Become a Chief Nursing Information Officer (With Skills)”

Investopedia, “What Is Wearable Technology (Wearables?) Definition and Examples”

Payscale, Average Chief Information Officer (CIO) Salary

TechTarget, Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS)

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, What Is Telehealth?

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