This is a different perspective... but would you consider being a CRNA? It is bedside care in the OR.
It's like having a patient 1:1 in a controlled ICU setting requiring broad knowledge and complete understanding of pharm/phatho/intensive nursing. Also you're in the front line as YOU are the most important person to that patient. You have to serve as a leader and patient advocate the entire case to protect the patient's airway and have control of their pain.
So in the field these are the important things, which I think you may be looking for: bedside care, leadership, advocacy, and knowledge.
Granted you might not be able to establish the "connection" you have with the patient, but when you know you're the most important person to that patient, that in itself is a "connection"
Below is an essay regarding CRNA's. Take 10 minutes to read, I think you'll have a better understanding of what I'm trying to say =)
Good Luck! I hope this helps!
RN, BS, CCRN, SRNA starting March 2012 =)