Vietnam Veteran Serves as Hospice Volunteer
Retired nurse Ann Eleanor Click is a natural caregiver. Her life’s work has been caring for others at the bedside, but she will also tell you it’s been a lifetime of listening.
“Being a nurse, you have to be a good listener,” she says. “You take cues and determine what’s going on with each person.”
Click’s collective years in hospital settings, public health and home health tally more than 40 years. She served in the Army Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968, including working in a medical ward tending to wounded soldiers.
A Call to Serve
Together with her husband, who also served in the military, she has traveled the world. The couple spent six years during the 1990s in Lesotho, a tiny mountain kingdom in Southeast Africa, caring for local villagers and providing computer and healthcare training to church-affiliated hospitals and clinics.
The Clicks have called East Tennessee home since the mid-1980s. Motivated to continue serving her community in some way, Click is particularly drawn to veteran services and can share common experiences.
She has volunteered with Covenant HomeCare and Hospice since 2019 and requests to visit veteran patients when possible. She says, “Some people have more family support than others. Oftentimes, I go sit with someone to give their spouse a chance to run errands or rest. I spend time listening and just chatting with them. Some are more open to talking than others.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Click adds. “There is joy in sharing experiences and listening to others.”
A Meaningful Pin
Covenant Health is a Level V partner with the We Honor Veterans Program, a reflection of the organization’s commitment to providing quality, compassionate care to military veterans. Each of Covenant Health’s veteran patients is honored with a special pinning ceremony in recognition of their service and sacrifice. There are words of thanks, and often tears.
“Being a Vietnam vet myself, it was a touching experience when I was presented with a pin. They explain the meaning of the colors on the pin, and it comes with a certificate. I haven’t had that many opportunities to connect with fellow vets but when I do, it’s certainly meaningful. I have had the privilege of attending pinning ceremonies for others, which are always special.”
Click enjoys scrapbooking, reading and traveling in her spare time. While it’s been difficult to connect with others during the pandemic, she is glad to have settled back into a routine of hospice volunteering. “I enjoy clerical work so I have volunteered in the office, too.”
As a retired RN she is comfortable at the bedside, but emphasizes that volunteers do not administer hands-on medical care. They simply sit with patients in the present moment and share stories, something she recommends to anyone who may share her calling.
For information about Covenant HomeCare and Hospice or to learn more about volunteering, visit www.CovenantHomeCareandHospice.com.