Master’s in Nursing: Health Informatics Emphasis

Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Health Informatics

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Learn To Make Informed Healthcare Decisions Using Data

The Master of Science in in Nursing (MSN) with an Emphasis in Health Informatics is designed for BSN-prepared nurses who want to develop graduate-level skills to better understand and apply healthcare data in a way that facilitates better decision-making and evidence-based nursing. Offered by the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at Grand Canyon University, this nursing health informatics degree teaches you how to prioritize better patient care and favorable patient outcomes while simultaneously improving the operational efficiency and profitability of healthcare organizations. Prepare to position yourself to serve as a potential leader in your hospital or clinic as you examine healthcare data management, healthcare information systems and professional ethics throughout your health informatics online classes.

Benefits of Earning a Nursing Health Informatics MSN From GCU

The nursing informatics curriculum is designed to teach you how to optimize the use of patient and health data to achieve better patient outcomes, reduce costs, and augment operational efficiency. You may be prepared to help organizations adapt to the integration of technology and the continuous changes in patient-care systems. 

You also have the opportunity to learn how to automate clinical care, build new operational data systems, train healthcare workers in the use of computer systems, and analyze data to improve patient care. As a private Christian university, GCU offers degree programs rooted in a Christian worldview. There is an emphasis on professional ethics and servant leadership within the nursing health informatics subfield.

For greater flexibility as a continuing education learner, you can choose to take your nursing informatics classes online.1 As an online student, you can access GCU’s interactive online learning platform from virtually anywhere. It gathers together your course materials and enables you to engage in intellectually stimulating discussions with your fellow learners and instructors. You can enjoy the same quality of instruction in health informatics online courses as would an on-campus student. Alternatively, you may choose to take health informatics courses on campus through evening classes. 

At GCU, you have the option to complete your nursing health informatics emphasis degree through evening classes. Evening courses can provide you with another modality of learning that may be more suitable for those with busy schedules who are looking for face-to-face instruction. Evening classes take place one night a week in convenient locations. 

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Nursing Informatics Classes and Curriculum  

The nursing health informatics MSN culminates in a capstone course and a 16-week practicum. This provides an opportunity for you to develop an evidence-based practice project in which you will:

  • Identify a problem amenable to research-based intervention
  • Search literature
  • Propose a solution 
  • Develop a plan to implement the solution, evaluate its outcomes and disseminate the findings

The final practicum integrates nursing knowledge, leadership and advanced critical thinking in the development of a comprehensive and professional project plan. In addition to the practicum project, you will take courses that will teach you to develop the skills necessary to improve patient care through the use of technology and data analysis.

Topics you will examine in the nursing informatics curriculum include:  

  • The role of leadership, health informatics and organizational policy in supporting high-quality patient care
  • The critical evaluation of evidence from epidemiology, biopsychosocial, biostatistics and other fields for evidence-based applications
  • The application of information systems in healthcare settings, with an emphasis on technology implementation in rapidly changing healthcare environments
  • Healthcare information resources, including the use of relational database management software
  • Techniques used for extracting, evaluating and applying health data

Nursing Informatics Career Opportunities   

No degree program can guarantee any particular career outcome, and some careers may require additional training or credentials. However, as a graduate of the master’s degree in nursing with a health informatics emphasis, there are a number of nursing informatics careers you might choose to pursue, including: 

  • Data scientist
  • Computer informatics analyst (business analyst)
  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Computer systems analyst

These roles may include automating clinical care, building new operational data systems, training healthcare workers in the use of computer systems or collecting and analyzing data to improve patient care. 

As a future informatics nurse, you may choose to work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospital
  • Primary care facility
  • Doctor's office
  • Insurance company
  • Pharmacy
  • Technology supplier
  • Consulting firm 
  • Government agency

GCU Offers Institutionally Accredited MSN Programs 

Before choosing a university at which to pursue a nursing health informatics MSN, it’s important to ensure the school is institutionally accredited. Accreditation is a reflection of the quality of the school. GCU is proud to be an institutionally accredited university that emphasizes quality, industry-aligned curriculum and instruction. 

For more information on the institutional accreditation of nursing programs and other university approvals, please visit our University Accreditation and Regulations page. 

Master of Science in Nursing: Health Informatics FAQs

Any career decision should be made after conducting thorough research in the field and reflecting carefully upon your options. Read through our frequently asked questions and answers to learn more about graduate-level opportunities in the field of nursing health informatics.

Graduate-level curriculum in nursing health informatics, such as that found in the MSN with an Emphasis in Health Informatics, can be well worth it for BSN-prepared nurses who are looking to impact patient outcomes on a different, technological level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses have a median annual wage of $81,220 as of 2022.2

Nurse informatics is a unique position where information technology and nursing intersect. A nurse informaticist’s primary mission is to improve the quality of care and patient safety standards in order to improve patient outcomes, as well as to enhance the cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency of the organization. Some of the main responsibilities of a nurse informaticist may include3:

  • Providing information regarding workflows
  • Managing new technology and system implementation
  • Assessing data quality and initiatives
  • Reporting data information to team members

When studying nursing health informatics in an online program,1 it’s important to recognize how to apply your studies to an in-person or remote healthcare setting. In addition to being knowledgeable about technologies, nurse informatic specialists must be able to effectively communicate, support other nurses, think critically to solve problems and manage various amounts of important data.4 While studying in your online program,1 keep those important traits in mind as you are taught knowledge and skills needed to be a hands-on informatics nurse after graduation.

The nursing health informatics MSN degree at GCU requires a total of 40 credits for completion. Most of the online classes are eight weeks in length. To better understand how long it might take you to earn your degree, you can fill out the form on this page to request a consultation with a university counselor.

The more information a healthcare provider has about any given patient, the better able they are to make informed decisions that support patient safety and the quality of patient care. It could be argued that communication is one of the most important foundational building blocks of patient safety. By making patient data more accessible, yet still secure and private, nurse informaticists enable clear communication and collaboration among a patient’s various providers. Furthermore, healthcare informatics can help reduce the risk of medical errors by eliminating the potential for misreading handwritten notes or treatment instructions.5

There is no one universal way to pursue nursing informatics careers. However, all aspiring nurse informaticists must first earn an undergraduate nursing degree (such as through a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or an RN to BSN program). You’ll then need to earn your nursing license by passing the NCLEX-RN and applying for state licensure.6 

Next, you’ll need to gain some bedside experience providing direct patient care. It may be possible to land an entry-level informatics job with just a BSN and clinical experience, but, increasingly, healthcare employers prefer to hire MSN-prepared nurse informaticists. In addition to earning your MSN in health informatics, you might choose to obtain a nurse informatics certification, such as the Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC), Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS) or Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) certifications.5

Prepare to pursue various nursing informatics careers and help support the quality of patient care in your organization. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about GCU’s online nursing informatics master’s degree.

1 While all courses are completed online, you will need to attend clinical, practicum and immersion hours in person locally.

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Registered Nurses, as of May 2022, retrieved on Oct. 17, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as registered nurses, nor does it reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc., against a pool of candidates.

3 Menkiena, C., MBA, BSN, RN-BC. (2021, February 2). The three essential responsibilities of a nurse informaticist. HealthCatalyst. Retrieved September 11, 2023.  

4 Monteiro, I. (2022, December 12). What is nursing informatics? (definition, duties and skills).  Indeed. 

5 (2023, August 14). Nursing informatics. Retrieved September 11, 2023. 

6 Gaines, K., MSN, RN, CBC. (2023, July 17). What is nursing informatics? Retrieved September 11, 2023. 

Total Credits: 40
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

40 credits
Degree Requirements:
40 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course examines nursing theory and the role of ethics for advanced registered nurses within the Christian worldview and through a leadership perspective focused on improving health care outcomes. Learners explore the moral/ethical responsibilities and legal and regulatory obligations of advanced registered nurses in health promotion and disease prevention. Learners also review evidence-based practice (EBP) literature and the research process with application to their program of study and learn to navigate scholarly EBP literature, resources, and guidelines.

Course Description

This course examines the role of leadership, organizational science, policy, and informatics in supporting safe, high-quality, cost-effective patient care within interprofessional, dynamic health care environments. Learners explore various organizational relationships within health care systems and prepare to participate in the design of cost-effective, innovative models of care delivery and practice change proposals. Professional leadership theories and how they shape the nurse leader in such things as collaboration, conflict resolution, decision-making, and negotiation are introduced. Learners discuss change management theories and evaluate the ethical, social, legal, economic, and political implications of practice change and health care informatics along with strategies for managing human, fiscal, and health care resources in a variety of organizational systems. Learners also examine the uses of patient-care, information systems, and communication technologies and discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health record systems and clinical decision support systems.

Course Description

In this course learners examine the process of scientific inquiry, knowledge generation, utilization, and dissemination of evidence into advanced nursing practice in order to propose quality-improvement initiatives that advance the delivery of safe, high-quality care for patient populations. Learners critically evaluate evidence, including scientific findings from the biopsychosocial fields, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics, and genomics, and apply levels of evidence and theoretical frameworks to design culturally appropriate clinical prevention interventions and population-based care that reduces risks, prevents disease, and promotes health and well-being. Learners also consider strategies to evaluate health policy and advocacy issues, the state of health care delivery, patient-centered care, and ethical principles related to health beliefs, health promotion, and risk reduction for diverse populations. Learners apply these strategies to work towards recognizing gaps in nursing and health care knowledge, identifying potential solutions or innovations for those gaps, planning and implementing practice changes, and evaluating the outcomes in order to improve practice. Prerequisites: NUR-513 and NUR-514.

Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for learners to complete their evidence-based practice (EBP) project proposal that addresses a problem, issue, or concern in their specialty area of professional practice. Learners previously identified a problem amenable to a research-based intervention, searched the literature, and proposed a solution. Now learners will explore implementation considerations and various evaluation methodologies, complete the project proposal by developing a plan to implement the solution into the intended practice area, and design an evaluation plan that will assess the EBP project proposal's intended outcome(s). Prerequisite: NUR-550.

Course Description

This course examines the application of information systems in health care settings, beginning with an analysis of the broad meaning and nature of information and systems. The focus narrows to utilization of computer technologies, configurations, and applications as tools to benefit health care environments. Emphasis is placed on the challenges related to the development and implementation of effective information systems in light of a rapidly and continuously changing health care model, evolution of technology team member roles and responsibilities, and advancement of technological requirements within the health care system.

Course Description

This course examines health care information resources and their impact on administrative functions, interfaces, data security and integrity, and business processes. Topics include use of relational database management software to construct tables, develop forms, create and execute queries, design and deploy reports, and advance database concepts to automate contemporary business processes. Learners are able to distinguish between various network hardware technologies and associated data communications protocols in order to direct how organizations design and implement data networks. Prerequisites: HIM-515, HCI-600, or NUR-514; and HIM-615.

Course Description

This course prepares learners to evaluate, implement, and optimize electronic health record (EHR) technology to support the management and use of clinical data. Learners examine the architecture of EHRs and analyze the challenges of their design and use, including system integration requirements, distributed user bases, storage of complex data, high security requirements, and the diverse information needs of various end users. Learners also apply project management techniques to the planning and implementation of EHRs. Prerequisite: HIM-650.

Course Description

This course introduces techniques for extracting data and creating knowledge from health care data sets. Learners examine methods for describing, summarizing, and presenting data. There is specific focus on understanding the needs of information users, identifying organizational objectives, and ensuring that the analytical methodology chosen meets those needs. Prerequisite: HIM-650.

Course Description

In this course, learners apply principles of human factors engineering to the design of optimal user interfaces that improve clinical processes. Learners examine clinical decision support and clinical workflow analysis, modeling, reducing data entry errors, and usability testing in efforts to improve the experience of end users while prioritizing patient safety and the delivery of quality health care.

Course Description

This course provides learners the opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the program in a practicum experience related to nursing informatics. Learners are expected to integrate nursing knowledge, leadership, and advanced critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the development of a comprehensive and professional project plan and solution that are grounded in current health care informatics research and methods. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all courses in the program of study.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.