I think that what keeps us "tired" nurses at the bedside is the little bit that we get back from our patients...the few real "thank you"s that let you know you really are making a difference in your patients lives. You won't get that in many of the other areas that you can branch off into as a nurse.
Being a nurse is very similar to being a teacher (putting aside the fact that nurses are often also "teachers"). It's probably one of the most important jobs out there-but often "thankless"-and overworked and underpaid. But we stick with it.
Don't get me wrong-I LOVE my job. I enjoy being at the bedside with my patients!!! But there are some days when I (briefly) consider changing to some other career. A career where you get respect for your education, experience, and opinions. A career where you can work 9-5, Monday to Friday, all holidays off. A career you leave at "the office" when you go home...
But then, I remember why I became a nurse-to make a difference in people's lives! And I realize I wouldn't be happier (or as happy!) doing anything else!
God bless you in your enthusiasm! Let me know when you get the boat offshore, and I'll help paddle!