At an awards ceremony on November 30, Dr. Nicholas Kuehnel was presented with the 2021 UW Health Physician Excellence Award. These prestigious, peer-nominated awards recognize UW Health’s most skilled and dedicated physicians who demonstrate exceptional performance in clinical practice, education, or regional services and a commitment to UW Health’s mission, vision, and values.
Dr. Kuehnel, assistant professor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, received the Rising Star Clinical Practice Award, which recognizes outstanding clinicians who are committed to clinical excellence, quality, and patient safety, and who demonstrate expectational patient and family-centered care.
Dr. Kuehnel’s track record of excellence in creating, implementing, and scaling patient care initiatives led to a trajectory of leadership responsibility that is remarkable for a faculty member barely four years out of training. He epitomizes the ideals of servant leadership and his sophisticated understanding of team dynamics and change management make him the perfect recipient for the clinical practice award.
As Medical Director of Quality and Safety for UW Health Kids, Kuehnel has championed several initiatives that have dramatically improved both clinical care and the patient experience. His passion for quality improvement is apparent through several of his initiatives focused on teamwork, communication, respect for people, and equitable and inclusive patient care.
Kuehnel also works to amplify the voices of non-healthcare members, including patient family advisors, ensuring each feels welcomed and heard by using positive reinforcement and feedback. The successful adoption of these efforts was circulated internationally this year as best practices through a webinar titled “The Power of PFAs: Patient Voices Can Drive Change.”