My father was a physician -- a small town doc who took care of the whole patient, not just the disease, had long-standing relationships with them, etc. He had the kind of emotional connection with his patients that a lot of physicians today do not have. He was very much beloved by our town.
A lot of people tried to convince me to go to medical school instead of nursing school, but I never seriously considered it. Having seen the toll that practicing that kind of medicine took on my father and many of his colleagues, it was not a lifestyle that interested me. Also, he and most of his friends encouraged me to go to nursing school -- to get a graduate degree and be one of those "specialized nurses" as they used to call them -- those nurses who have flexible hours, nice paychecks, etc. They often felt trapped by their careers and by their committments -- owning practices, employing staff, etc. -- difficult to move from one place to another, almost impossible to switch specialties -- difficult to be flexible with work hours, having to work on holidays, nights, etc. even though you have years of experience, etc. They told me that nurses with advanced educations have more flexibility and that was important to me.
That's what I did. I got a BSN at 22, an MSN at 26, and a PhD in nursing at 41. I've had the intellectual stimulation I need through all of my graduate study and through my jobs as a CNS, Staff Development Educator, and Program Coordinator. I have outrageously flexible hours: I come and go as I please. I make a good salary. I had only a couple of small student loans for graduate school. I have no regrets about choosing nursing.