They perform their duties without much fanfare.
Caring for someone is simply part of the job and they often do with boundless compassion and serene professionalism.
On May 12, the world plans to celebrate a day that has been observed since 1965.
That would be International Nurses Day, which honors the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
One doesn’t have to remind Jordyn Severns of this special occasion. For the Tallmadge senior, honoring the 19th-century icon of the Victorian Era is like another holiday.
In this case, though, Severns will be more than happy to climb down the chimney. Of course, that doesn’t mean the affable teenager will be wearing a red coat with a white fur collar.
Instead, this version of Kris Kringle might don a navy blue scrub suit. She’ll likely keep a stethoscope, thermometer and blood pressure cuffs handy too.
"I look up to the nurses," the 18-year-old Severns said. "I look at them as heroes."
Severns has a long way to go if she wants to match the contributions of a certain British social reformer known as "The Lady with the Lamp."
Nevertheless, much like the healthcare revolutionary, the gifted teenager’s performances on the field have given the Blue Devils softball team a highly favorable reputation.
Severns plans to continue mastering her craft on the diamond. She expects to learn the nuances of administering medications and managing intravenous lines as well.
Severns will perform these duties at Ashland University, a private university that was founded in 1878.
The Division II school, which considers "Christian values as a core element of the University’s institutional identity," is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Rumor has it that the 135-acre institution is quite familiar with Nightingale. Martha Ballard comes to mind too. So does Dorothea Dix and Clara Barton.
It’s a safe bet those groundbreaking caregivers could be mentioned in a classroom at least once or twice.
That’s because one of Ashland’s four colleges is the Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
For Severns, such facts prove just how delightful her future home will be.
Or, if you prefer medical terminology, it’s "just what the doctor ordered."
"Ashland is known for its nursing program so I’m super excited about that," Severns said. "It was between Cleveland State and Ashland. When I went on a visit, it instantly felt like home. I felt like Coach K [Eagles head softball coach Emily Knerem] wanted me to be there.
"Another huge factor is I liked the campus. It was small and homey, which I love."
A nurse can’t perform her life-saving tasks if she’s a long-suffering patient. Severns learned this grim truth earlier this month.
Due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as the coronavirus, Severns’ high school athletic career came to a devastating end.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the entire spring season due to the mysterious illness that has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide.
As a result, Severns has become a helpless bystander. And unlike her future colleagues, she isn’t certified to step forward during this horrifying pandemic.
When the Crimean War took place in the 1850s, Nightingale became a household name.
But when an aspiring nurse turns out to be the wounded soldier, who will be her healer?
Sadly, Severns is still searching. The much-needed healthcare provider who can ease her intolerable pain is nowhere to be found.
"I can’t even put words into it," Severns said with her voice cracking. "I never thought something like this would ever happen. All this is hard for me. It puts a lot of things in perspective."
On a far less gruesome note, Severns learned to keep "things in perspective" last spring.
After spending two years as Tallmadge’s starting catcher, Severns moved to shortstop in 2019.
Although she batted a very respectable .301 with 28 hits, 23 runs scored, 14 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, Severns didn’t feel quite as comfortable playing the game she loves as she did the previous years.
Her stats certainly proved that point.
As a sophomore, a more relaxed Severns batted .433 with 38 runs scored, 35 hits, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
She also stole 10 bases as a freshman and batted .368 with 28 hits, 24 runs scored and 20 RBIs.
While the super-athletic Severns eventually found her groove, the position switch made the future candy-striper feel more like the cold-hearted Nurse Ratched rather than the kindhearted Helen Rosenthal.
Thankfully, the once fearful patient regained her lofty status as the team’s "Chief."
Therefore, it was time for the accomplished teenager to escape from her personal demons.
Once that took place, Severns could finally fly away from her dreaded "cuckoo’s nest." This time, for good.
"I was kind of upset at first," Severns said. "I caught my freshman and sophomore years and I loved it. Catching had always been my thing, but I moved to shortstop to help the team out. I had to relearn the position, but I ended up loving it."
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to love about the 2019 season.
That’s because the Blue Devils experienced something extremely rare in their storied history: losing.
Tallmadge, which has been one of the better teams in Northeast Ohio for what seems like forever, finished 12-16.
Oddly enough, a number of those losses had nothing to do with the Blue Devils’ performance on the field. Tallmadge had to forfeit a number of games due to an ineligible player.
Despite facing an inordinate amount of adversity, the Blue Devils advanced to a Division II district title game for the first time since 2014.
However, Tallmadge’s "quality of life" never fully recovered from its season-long illness.
"Last year was obviously not the year we hoped for," Severns said. "We always seemed to have some bad luck the last two years. At the same time, I got to play the game I love and with people I love. There’s nothing more you can ask for."
Although she was no longer sporting the tools of ignorance, Severns didn’t lose her power to call the games.
Before a pitch was thrown, the sharp-witted infielder relayed a hand signal to current senior Kennedy Rorar, who took Severns’ spot behind the plate.
Yes, even when Severns wasn’t working at her favorite medical facility, this respected head nurse still had "prescription authority" when it came to the infield.
For a while, at least.
"When we moved Jordyn to short, it was a curveball for everyone," said Brittany Lightel, who became Tallmadge’s head softball coach in 2019. "She was used to being behind the plate for [2019 Tallmadge graduates] Hallie [Mullett] and Emily [Pratt] and knew what and how they threw.
"I had always put my faith in her to call pitches behind the plate. When we decided to let her call pitches from short, it worked for some time, but when we got deeper into the season, I did take over to alleviate some of the pressure and allow for her to focus on her position."
She may have to focus on a new position when she suits up for the Eagles next year.
Prior to high school, Severns could be found in one of the outfield spots or in the pitcher’s circle.
Severns isn’t sure where she’ll be when Ashland plays its season opener next spring. Perhaps she could catch or play short just like she did in high school. Or maybe she could move to a brand new position.
By the way, everything is on the table for the fidgety teenager. Quite simply, Severns is itching to get back on the field again.
The sooner, the better.
"I always dreamed of playing Division I," said Severns, who was recruited to be a catcher. "I think I’m capable of doing that. I just want to play. I don’t want to sit for a year or two."
Prior to the nationwide shutdown, the Eagles won six of their 13 games during the earlier part of the spring. In 2019, Ashland finished 33-23 overall, including 18-14 in the GLIAC.
A soon-to-be Tallmadge graduate hopes to make a significant impact. And she’s more than willing to work collaboratively with some talented physicians.
Particularly ones who have a fondness for leather and aluminum.
"Obviously, I have to prove myself, but I want to start," Severns said. "I don’t care where I play. I’m just going to work through this quarantine stuff and do my thing."
Lightel, who also spent two years as an assistant coach with the Blue Devils, has watched her versatile pupil "do her thing" for the last three years.
It’s working quite well.
The 4.0 student’s unique "scope of practice" has been extremely beneficial to both Severns and the rest of her glove-wearing attendants.
"Jordyn is an awesome kid and just a downright hard worker," Lightel said. "She pushes herself and her team to put in necessary work at practice and during games.
"From the time she started as a freshman, she played a key role in the makeup of the team’s chemistry. She brings an energy to the team that her teammates thrive off of."
Severns is still bringing her energy despite these difficult circumstances. Besides hitting the books and working out, Severns, who also was a former standout guard for the Tallmadge girls basketball team, keeps busy by caring for the elderly at a nursing home in Fairlawn.
Forgive the former Blue Devils’ two-sport star if she has been a bit apprehensive about going to work in recent weeks.
While the coronavirus is threatening to all humans, it is particularly hazardous to senior citizens.
"It’s a little scary," Severns said. "We’ve had to take precautionary measures, but I’m definitely happy to get work at this time."
Like the rest of the human race, Severns eagerly hopes this invisible plague disappears as soon as possible.
At the same time, though, she plans to be fully prepared for the next potential outbreak.
When it comes to a certain standout student-athlete’s future, "The Lady with the Lamp" might have said it best.
"How very little can be done under the spirit of fear."
A certain Florence Nightingale wannabe from Tallmadge definitely agrees. To preserve the quality of life, one must be able to conquer her trepidation and get to work quickly.
Especially when it comes to emergency situations.
"I want to be able to save someone’s life," Severns said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.