For me, it's answered in retrospect - relative to the time in my life (as a Jr. and Sr. in high school) when our Guidance Counselor was obsessed with "hammering home" career decisions- being pondered by the next "round" of budding young adults, all chomping at the bit for a whack at life's glamorous opportunites!
My passion (in my young heart at that time) was to become a "writer" (Journalist).
"Nursing" never entered my mind. Then one day....."voila"........because I was a member of the local Girl Scout Organization I raised my hand to express "interest" in being a "Candy Striper" at the local hospital. It was purely volunteer of course, but I found I loved it. And those were the days when "certification" for anything remotely close to the description of a "nurse's aide" was not yet even heard of.
As I carried out my "volunteer" role which I truly enjoyed,.......it was the adults around me who started to bombard me with the idea that....."you would make such a great Nurse some day!" Well, one thing led to the next......the Nurses at the hospital took me under their "wings" and "trained" me as a Nurse's Aide. I now had a real job, with real responsibilities and made $2.25/hr whenever I worked. (this was in the mid-60's)
BUT.....I became conflicted in my heart and soul to be quite honest about it all. My heart and gut said: "writer" (screamed "WRITER").........the significant adults around me said: "NURSE." (screamed "NURSE"). The adults around me won in that tug-0-war.
So, here I am......thirty years later......NURSE, still listening to my heart and gut SCREAM......."writer!!"
P.S. I love what I DO, make no mistake about it. And am good at it besides. However, I have never viewed myself as a "healer" like other posters have expressed. I bring knowlege, skills, experience, and a love for my fellow man in the form of service, and it is God who does the healing, if there is healing.
Doctors do not heal. Doctors apply science and art. They write orders, we carry them out - using the tools we have available: therapies, medications, surgery, labwork, x-rays, etc. etc. They find what is "broken" and apply what we know, but it is the patient who possesses the healing properties God created him/her with. (all of us with) We are not "automatons."