Meet Kevin Kornowski, physician assistant, Cardiology
Fri, Oct 22, 2021
A freak accident landed Kevin Kornowski in the emergency room, changing his career plans forever.
“I was carrying a 9x13 glass Pyrex lasagna pan into the kitchen at my parents’ house and I slipped and fell and the pan shattered on the floor,” Kornowski says. “And of course, it’s natural to put your hands out to brace yourself. I went to the emergency department because I could see into my hand.”
Kornowski received almost 40 stitches, leaving behind a scar that even today reminds him of the accident. Also etched in his memory from that day is the treatment and care he received from a physician assistant.
“Medicine wasn’t really on my radar until that. I look back and think about those providers, particularly what the PA did for me,” Kornowski says. “I thought to myself, ‘Boy, I want to make people feel the way those providers made me feel.’ I went in pretty scared and their expertise showed me comfort and I wanted to be able to do that for other people.”
Today, Kornowski is a physician assistant with Aurora BayCare Cardiology.
At the time of his accident, Kornowski was an undergraduate student at Concordia University in Mequon, just north of Milwaukee. He also was working at a pharmacy and had thought about going to pharmacy school. However, his accident and his experience with the physician assistant changed that.
Kornowski completed physician assistant school at Concordia University. As soon as he began his cardiology rotation, he was hooked, he says. It also helped that he viewed cardiology and two passions – science and cars – in much the same way.
“My father used to take me to the racetrack in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and I loved the cars. I loved the engines. I love building things and taking things apart,” he says.
Cars and the human body have similarities, Kornowski says.
“The heart’s kind of like the engine of the car and I think that was the biggest draw for me to cardiology. I don’t necessarily fix engines for a living but I do keep people running and that’s pretty cool to me. The engine is the most important part of a car and the heart, in my opinion, is the most important part of the body.”
Kornowski has been with Aurora BayCare Cardiology for four years. His favorite part about practicing is spending time with patients, he says.
“The best part by far is being able to talk with them and not just hear about their problems, too. For a lot of people, it becomes a social visit and I like getting to know my patients as a person. They come in and show me pictures of their grandkids, or their cars, or whatever it is that we talk about, and I love that.”
When seeing patients, Kornowski gives each of them the time and information they need to fully understand their diagnosis and treatment.
“What’s going to make you great at something isn’t what you know but clearly how much you care about the patient,” he says. “Medicine, yeah, it’s kind of a science-based thing, but at the same time how we feel about our patients, how we connect and care for them, supersedes what we know in terms of clinical knowledge.”
When Kornowski isn’t seeing patients, he’s building things, dismantling things or hiking and kayaking.
He’s also a runner, an activity he loathes. He runs for his health. As a physician assistant in cardiology, he says he owes it to his patients to practice the heart-healthy habits he encourages them to do.
“I feel like every time I put my running shoes on and get out there, I try to take my patients with me. Like we’re all in this together. They come in and I tell them the things that they need to do to be healthy. I also feel like I owe it to them to do those same things myself.”
And yes, Kornowski still loves lasagna. These days, he carefully carries the pan.
“I enjoy every piece. I don’t take it for granted,” he says.
Kevin Kornowski is a physician assistant with Aurora BayCare Cardiology. He sees patients in Two Rivers and Valders.
About Aurora BayCare
Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a 167-bed, full-service tertiary care hospital located at 2845 Greenbrier Road on Green Bay’s east side. It opened in September 2001 as a joint venture of Aurora Health Care and BayCare Clinic. Aurora BayCare is committed to creating a better way to provide high quality tertiary healthcare, the latest in medical technology and superior service.
About Aurora Health Care
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin’s most comprehensive health care provider and the state’s largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, 159 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing Caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.
About BayCare Clinic
BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.