Can an LPN become an informatics nurse without a BSN or MSN?


If this is possible, how can it be done? I have been asked this question by LPNs in the past and I answered this question in a previous post, but only briefly.

So, I thought that best solution would be to have an LPN working in informatics answer directly these questions and a few more other. This way, you get fresh insights into the subject.

Here’s a little interview I prepared for you with an LPN currently working in nursing informatics:

How long have you been a nurse?

I’ve been an LPN for 30 years. I worked in every area possible!

Was on disability for 2 herniated disks in low back for 13 years. Got back into bedside nursing as a charge nurse in an assisted living facility in 2004.

I was working as a charge nurse in a different assisted living facility in 2008 and left that place.

While perusing the local help wanted ads in a Cleveland newspaper, found one that was looking for RNs and LPNs that had computer skills.

Faxed my resume to the consulting firm that placed the ad, interviewed and was hired for a go live at the Cleveland Clinic for Epic.

When you say, computer skills, what does that actually mean? Did you have any prior experience using electronic medical records when you were a clinical nurse?

Computer skills referred to anyone who could use a mouse and was familiar with Windows based applications-Word, Excel, Outlook.LPN Informatics analyst

I had no EMR experience at all prior to the Cleveland Clinic project in 2008. The firm I was with hired 300 people for this gig.

On day 2, we were down to 150. The lack of training and actual use of the apps before the go live drove a lot of people away.

So this job was your induction into the informatics field?

That is how I got introduced to this field. I never knew it existed prior to that interview.

I worked that project for 2 1/2 months. Then when other CCF facilities went live, the firm called to see if I was available, and I did 9 or 10 projects with them.

I did my first travel assignment as a consultant in March 2009, for another firm, at double what I was making for the firm I was with for the clinic projects.

In Sept. 2009, the original firm called saying they were in a bind. They needed trainers for Op Time, an Epic application for surgery.

I started on a Thursday, observed another trainer teaching her first class on a Friday, and taught my own class on Saturday!

The training classes lasted for 6 weeks, then I supported the end-users at the go live at a surgery center. With a week off between, I did another travel assignment for the same firm I worked for in March. And have been a traveling consultant ever since.

And during this whole time, have you considered going back to school to get your RN/BSN license or maybe a Master’s degree?

I spoke with the VP of firm I was originally with and mentioned that I was considering going for my RN so I would have more opportunities in this field.

He said due to the clinical experience I already had, and the additional training and go live experience, he said I wouldn’t need it.

And he was right. I can pick and choose what assignments I wish to participate in and take time off when I want it.

I do have to admit that the field is getting extremely saturated.

Health systems are hiring extra personnel to assist with the training, getting them credentialed in Epic applications, which is different that getting certified in the applications.


Certification in any Epic applications is the wholly grail.

Once the newly credentialed people do one or two go lives, they think they are ready for the consulting side. All they see are dollar signs!

I know several who have left secure training jobs only to do one project elsewhere and cannot find anything else, due to lack of experience.

Many people are under the impression that they can get certified in Epic on their own. They don’t understand that they need to be sponsored by their employer or by a consulting company that works with Epic.I’ve been told that there are some scammers out there who make you pay so many dollars supposedly to tell you how to get certified in Epic, and once you join their seminar, they tell you exactly the same thing: have your employer sponsor you, or get involved in informatics as a super-user, and then try to get a job.
I knew about certification, but didn’t know about Credentialing. Can you explain some more about that?

Credentialing is a process, sponsored by the healthcare system, to use current or newly hired employees as trainers.

They go through a six week training session for whatever application they will be training.

Then the principal trainer-you must be certified from Epic to be a PT- and a rep from Epic will grade (pass/fail) the newly hired or current staff employees on a presentation based on the application they will be teaching, in addition to a written test that is open book/computer.

Every health system wants their trainers credentialed based on their own workflows and how they want the system to function. I have been credentialed 3-4 times.

So for the LPN’s out there trying to get a job in informatics, what would your advice be?

The first thing I tell anyone who wants to jump into this arena, is to go to www.LinkedIn.com, set up your profile, making sure any EMR experience they have is first and foremost on their resume, and network, network network!

Most informatics positions in hospitals do require being an RN and all the alphabet soup initials that go with it.

I’ve met LPNs who are project managers and training managers. It does help to have leadership/management experience as well.

Jobs are getting tight, however. It would be a big advantage if you are able to travel, possibly even relocate.

I know many consultants who have young children at home and still travel. A strong support system at home is extremely helpful as well.

Thanks so much for your time and willingness to share your experience, which I’m sure will be of help to many.
Chris (25 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+


One Response to Can an LPN become an informatics nurse without a BSN or MSN?

  • Constance says:

    Great Information!!!
    I went from LPN to Senior Application Analyst, by simply mastering the application that I used everyday. I have been working for the corporate office in the EMR department, where I manage the EMR for over 50 outpatient practices.
    #EMR #LPN #Informatics

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