You know, I have often shared the same frustration. However, I finally came to the realization that you can't impress other nurses, as if you are 'invading their space'.
I have been an RN for 12 years...11 years of which have been in the trenches. During those years, E.R. nursing (and nursing as a whole) has evolved at a rapid rate. Everyone fought to secure an identity and establish their mark in healthcare. I did the same. Then one day, I decided that as long as I knew my job and place in nursing life, then I can better concentrate on that job. Since then, I obtained my CEN. Something I recommend all ER nurses do. I have also taken it a step further by obtaining instuctor potential, if not instructor status in ACLS, BLS, PALS, ENCP, TNCC, and BTLS. I have maintained my paramedic certification. And just recently completed my BSN.
I can sense that you take pride in your work.
That is great. Remember, however, that it is patient gratification through a smile, hug, tear, or thank you that will be your greatest reward. With that, 'critical care' is just a term that loses significance.
Keep up the good work!