January 20, 2014
Dr. Elise Salerno
Dr. Elise Salerno’s first week at Fauquier Hospital was memorable. A surgical resident from the University of Virginia, she is working this month in Warrenton, with general surgeons Dr. William Cloud and Dr. Kip Dorsey.
One of the very first cases she assisted with involved an unusual kind of cancer. “It was a very serious, very rare type of cancer. It was a textbook case, very interesting, and we had a good outcome.”
Dr. Salerno has extensive experience in cancer cases; she spent two years in cancer research as part of her seven-year surgical training. She is in her fifth year of that training.
An enthusiastic participant in Fauquier Hospital’s surgical residency program, Dr. Salerno appreciates the opportunity to be mentored one-on-one by an experienced surgeon. “Dr. Cloud is great. He is always willing to discuss anything I am interested in or have questions about. It’s very different from a large university hospital, where you are working at maximum capacity all the time. You can’t have the same kind of mentorship at a large institution as you can here.”
Dr. Salerno is also enthusiastic about Fauquier Hospital, where she says there is an unusual employee loyalty. “Everyone I’ve met seems to really love their job. The patients seem happy and grateful to be here too. And the facility is absolutely beautiful.”
She can see herself at a smaller hospital someday. “I think I’d rather be part of a community,” she said. “And as a surgeon, it’s great to be able to do all kinds of surgery, instead of being restricted to one specialty.”
Dr. Salerno commutes from Charlottesville every day, where she has two children, a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. She explains, “My husband is not a medical person. He is a totally normal person!”
Dr. Salerno admits that she doesn’t get much time off, but says it’s “totally worth it. I love taking care of patients. As a surgeon, it’s nice to be able to fix problems. It’s very satisfying to have a definitive treatment, and it’s great to see patients feeling so much better after a successful surgery.”
But for January, at least, Dr. Salerno will enjoy working in a more intimate environment. “It’s great being in a place where surgeons can sit down with oncologists and discuss surgeries over lunch.” Back at UVA, she will next concentrate on liver and biliary surgeries, then focus on colorectal surgeries. She’ll complete several more rotations before completing her hands-on training. Dr. Salerno hopes to secure a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at UVA, honing her laparoscopy skills in bariatric, gallbladder and stomach surgeries, as well as appendectomies.