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Ensuring Fair Representation: In Conversation With Peter White, CNIO At Alder Hey


Peter White
Alder Hey

by Bernie Clarke

13 February 2024

Peter White’s Journey to Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO)


Peter White has taken an unconventional path to his role as Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. His journey began when he qualified as a children’s nurse and later moved to Alder Hey in 2012. Peter started in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), which he found incredibly rewarding over his 9 years there.

During his time in the PICU, Peter got involved with the education team to help train new nurses on best practices and the latest research. Additionally, he worked extensively on enhancing Alder Hey’s electronic health records system used in the PICU. As Peter explains, “I did a huge amount of development on not just the documentation but also interfacing and interoperability with the system.” This early hands-on experience sparked his passion for optimising digital workflows and health information technology to improve patient care.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Peter collaborated on implementing technology initiatives, like secured tablets, to enable isolated patients to video chat with loved ones. He reflects that this innovative work “opened my eyes to the wider world, digital outside of paediatric intensive care.” By spearheading vital solutions during an incredibly challenging crisis, Peter displayed inspirational leadership. In 2021, he was promoted to become the first ever Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) at Alder Hey.

In this executive role, Peter oversees digital strategy for all nurses and allied health professionals, representing over one-third of the hospital’s workforce. He calls his promotion “fortunate” and continues expanding his expertise, currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Health Informatics. However, Peter remains humble, saying his goal is “to make sure I am the best person to be the CNIO.” The role is still emerging across the NHS, and Peter recognises the importance of being a digital pioneer.


Perspective on Allyship


According to Peter, allyship in healthcare involves “working together but ensuring opportunities are given to everybody.” He focuses on collaboration and championing equitable treatment regardless of factors like age, gender, or background. Peter pushes for sincerely listening to marginalised voices then responding with action.

As CNIO, Peter aims “to make sure that I am representing those people fairly” across nursing and clinical staff. He strives to amplify their needs and concerns when devising digital solutions so they can provide the best possible patient care. Peter believes fostering an ethical, inclusive culture allows both organisational and personal growth. Open communication and thoughtful self-reflection prevent marginalising certain groups unnecessarily.


Advice on Allyship


For those working to support healthcare professionals from minority groups, Peter stresses continuously learning and reaching out to ask others for guidance. He makes himself available to mentor those interested in informatics and health technology leadership roles. Peter encourages pushing past perceived barriers, stating “there will always be people who are willing to help.”

Furthermore, Peter promotes regularly evaluating oneself and having challenging conversations if situations warrant improvement. He advises digital leaders to proactively “look out for the voice that isn’t in the room and then champion that.” For example, Peter wants to better assist neurodiverse individuals with skills excelling in IT roles. While becoming an empowering ally takes concerted effort, even incremental steps toward inclusiveness accumulate over time.

As Peter says, “I know I’ve been very fortunate, but I’m very passionate about ensuring that I can pass that on to as many people as I possibly can and that is not just staff in my team or in Alder Hey, but children, young people and nationally. and I think we’re riding a real wave, particularly in the digital network.”

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