Hatteras village welcomes a new medical provider
four months after its grand reopening in November 2013, the Hatteras
Village Medical Center closed its doors once again.
This time, however, it is only temporary.
were suspended for the first week of April to accommodate the center’s
transition between primary care providers and will resume on Monday,
April 7, under the direction of Gail Covington, a nurse practitioner
Covington will be taking over for Margaret
Jazayeri, the physician’s assistant from Grifton, N.C., who began as
the facility’s primary care provider when it reopened.
relocated to the area with her family last year in order to fill the
position, but eventually decided that Hatteras Island was not the best
fit for her family.
Shortly after Jazayeri submitted her 60-day
notice to the Board of Directors, Dennis Robinson, a member of the
center’s board and president of the Hatteras Village Civic Association,
spearheaded the search for her replacement.
And, it seems that he struck gold in his pursuit.
is no stranger to the Outer Banks,” explained Robinson. “She
worked and lived in the area, and other remote locations, for years and
is an ideal candidate for the position.”
Her extensive history with the Outer Banks began over 30 years ago and
has followed quite a circuitous path.
New Jersey-born nurse practitioner first developed a penchant for the
small-town, North Carolina lifestyle while obtaining a bachelor of
science in nursing from East Carolina University.
working as a nurse for five years, Covington then went on to earn a
master’s degree in nursing, specializing in obstetrics and pediatrics,
from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.
remained in the state, working as a staff nurse, teaching nursing as a
UNC faculty member, and eventually delving into the administrative side
of the profession.
While in hospital administration, Covington
wore numerous hats -- developing and overseeing education departments,
nurse practitioner programs, and numerous urgent care centers – though,
caregiver was not amongst those in rotation.
“I wanted to be
one-on-one with patients again,” reveals Covington regarding her
decision to further her education. “I really missed the
work so I decided to get out of administration.”
In 1992, she returned to UNC to become a nurse practitioner and
obtained her Post Master’s Certificate.
although she started visiting Ocracoke in 1980, it was through this
program that she first began working in the Outer Banks.
nurse practitioner school, Covington completed the majority of her
clinical rotations at the medical clinics in Hatteras and Buxton.
dedication to the health care of the island communities became
increasingly evident as she continued to work as a weekend call nurse
for Hatteras and Ocracoke while finishing her education and maintaining
a full-time job on the mainland.
After completing her education, Covington continued to work full-time
off the island, yet maintained a presence locally.
experience as a nurse practitioner includes five years at the Minute
Clinic in Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem where she
provided primary care and set up and opened seven new clinics; seven
years at a gynecologic, obstetrical, and primary care provider at the
Wendover ob/gyn and infertility clinic in Greensboro; five years at
First Health of the Carolinas Montgomery Women’s Health Service in
Troy, N.C., where she set up the clinic and provided care at a remote
rural location, and six years at Hampton and Lewis ob/gyn and
infertility clinic in Oxford, N.C.
Finally, in 2009, Covington
decided to settle permanently in Ocracoke and began working at the
Ocracoke Health Center, providing regular clinic hours and urgent care
for the small island community.
On Monday, she will return to
the same building where she performed her first rotations on Hatteras
Island, more than 20 years ago, and begin work as the primary care
provider for the Hatteras clinic.
“I’m looking forward to the job,” said Covington. “I think
it’s a great challenge.”
challenge will be re-establishing the practice to the booming business
and care center that it was when she first worked at the clinic.
her plan to accomplish this, she said, “We need to get people in the
door, we need to be open, and we need provide good service for the
Her dedication to the community, familiarity with
the local lifestyle, and vast experience in the medical field will all
prove to be invaluable in this pursuit.
confident in the medical center’s future success and remained
optimistic even when discussing her daily ferry commute.
excited to have the opportunity to visit friends on Hatteras Island,
try out some local restaurants, and have some downtime while riding the
ferry,” said Covington.
Equipped with a Kindle and her quilting
supplies, she will use the time to indulge in a few of her hobbies
during the trips between work and her home.
It is clear that Covington is here to stay and is eager to begin the
next chapter in her own life.
intend to be here Monday through Friday because I think there is a need
here in Hatteras village,” stated Covington. “And I hope to
able to meet the community’s needs, from chronic illness management to
family practice and even urgent care during office hours.”
Hatteras Village Medical Center will be open Monday through Friday from
8 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. It will be closed
holidays, including Thanksgiving and the day after.
The phone number is 252-986-2756, which is the same one the medical
center had in its former life.