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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New Physician Assistant Joins Norton County Hospital

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

NORTON, Kan. – Norton County Hospital is pleased to announced it has hired physician assistant Gino Salerno as an emergency medicine provider. He will begin covering the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) as a part of the permanent medical staff on Sept. 1, 2020. This is the same day that three new physicians are joining the medical team as well.

Salerno has worked primarily in emergency and family practice settings in Kansas since graduating from the physician assistant program at Wichita State University in 2000. He worked for Ascension Via Christi in Wichita for the last 10 years in one of the busiest EDs in the state. In addition, Salerno has worked with Docs Who Care for the last four years, which brought him to Norton and other cities throughout Kansas to help in the ED as needed.

“I am looking forward to serving Norton as an emergency medicine provider,” Salerno said. “I am attracted to the rural environment and friendly people.”

Gino’s wife is Marsha, who is school teacher and librarian. Together, the couple has five children. Son Vincent works in IT for the Kansas Air National Guard. Daughter Martina is completing her doctoral degree in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Riverside. Son Marco is a Marine in active duty and is presently stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Son Elvin is also completing a doctoral degree in chemistry through the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the University of Paris, France. Daughter Serena is presently completing Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Salerno said his hobbies include bicycling, movie making, photography and anything related to medicine.

Gina Frack, Norton County Hospital CEO, said that since 2018, Salerno’s time at Norton County Hospital increased due to being short-staffed in medical providers and needing additional emergency coverage.

“Our staff grew to appreciate Gino for both his clinical skills and his easy-going demeanor. Gino grew to appreciate the beauty of rural and specifically the Norton, Kansas area,” Frack said. “Our current providers and three new doctors were all included in the hiring of Gino. It was truly a bringing together of our long-standing providers – Dr. Maurer, Jonna Inman and Kristin Vogel – combined with our new doctors – Dr. Gaede, Dr. Neill and Dr. McKellar. They are working together to build our medical staff team.”

Frack added that bringing a provider like Salerno to the team also aligns with the hospital’s commitment to grow the next generation of health care professionals who will hopefully come back to work in rural areas. Some ways to do this are by supporting student shadowing, preceptorship and rotations in all health care fields and at every level of education and training.

“This can be a high school student shadowing one of our staff members for a day or perhaps a medical student completing his or her rural rotation with one of our doctors,” Frack said. “Gino has ties to Wichita State University’s physician assistant program, so he routinely has PA students completing their clinical rotations with him. His commitment to teaching aligns with our goals.”

Norton County Hospital is thankful to be transitioning to more consistency and stability of medical staff, Frack said. But, she is also so thankful to the amazing providers who provided coverage in both the ED and the clinic the past couple of years. The hospital ensured that although different providers staffed the ED and clinic, they were consistent providers who like Salerno, got to know members of the community. This assisted with continuity of care and helped the hospital build its network.

“We simply could not have met the needs of the community and region without the great providers from Docs Who Care and resident physicians and fellows from the International Family Medicine Fellowship through Ascension Via Christi,” Frack said. “The relationships we built with these organizations and individual providers are ones we want to recognize and maintain. We will still have coverage needs for provider vacations, maternity/paternity leave, etc., and we look forward to continuing to work with these organizations.”

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