In honor of a Balcony Person: Billy

This post is the first in a new series on Balcony Persons.  If you would like to honor one of your BPs, please send your story to me at

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.”

-Robert Collier

In honor of Billy

by Erin Messer

Nursing school is hard, at least it was for me.  I was muddling through what many would say is the most difficult semester of the training.  I had a very demanding instructor, and each day at clinicals my professor would ask me about each medication I was giving to my patients.

Toward the end of the semester I had taken two patients for the first time.  I was not ready for this task, which I can admit now.  Each patient had complicated histories and medication lists multiple pages long.  When the time came for me to report to my professor,  I blanked.  I couldn’t recall anything about the medications, and I felt miserable.  I had failed for the day.

I went to the break room and sat down as all the color drained out of my face.  That’s when Billy came in.  Billy was an experienced nurse who’d witnessed my implosion.  Tears began to flow as she walked over, stood behind me and wrapped her arms around me.  She whispered with authority,  “You are going to be an incredible nurse. You are going to make a difference in peoples lives.  There are times when we need a Dr. Pepper.” Off we went to the break room.

The next day I was more prepared,  and was able to handle the medication exam.  I worked with Billy and the day unfolded so smoothly.

I never forgot the words that Billy told me,  and from that moment I worked harder to become the best nurse I could be.  My regret is that I didn’t thank her for how she’d encouraged me, though I certainly thanked God for her.

Sometimes we get a chance a chance to fix a mistake.

My last semester of school I worked with a nurse who smoked.  She would take me out to the smoker’s hut for our break and, though I didn’t share the habit, I sat with her.  One day there was another nurse in the hut.  It was Billy.  She didn’t remember me at all!  She was overwhelmed with tears as I recounted that day several months back, and finally had the chance to express my appreciation.

I will never forget the encouragement Billy gave me,  and the challenge to be the best nurse I could be.  She taught me the importance of stopping to encourage others, and it has been a joy to pass that gift on to all the nursing students who have crossed my path.

Erin Messer is indeed one of the best nurses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (and she also happens to be my niece.)


About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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One Response to In honor of a Balcony Person: Billy

  1. Karen says:

    Great story Erin! Where would we be if not for those in our professions who extended their hands back to pull us forward? Thanks for sharing!

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