Haven't been back here since I wrote that post, and I wanted to thank you all for your comments and encouragement. Thank you all, sincerely.
Right now I am very happy with the work that I continue to do...happier than I have been in previous years because not only am I able to make a significant difference in the lives of my patients every day, my coworkers and management fully approve of my efforts on everyone's behalf. It wasn't always like that.
At one time I thought that the only thing I could do to make my job better for myself was to actually get a better one - as a nurse, but, for me at least, that is not the case. My job has me filling in a very important role, and I've struggled to find an appropriate term for it, but that doesn't matter. My job title may say Paramedic, but my job duties should literally be Jack Of All Trades..and I know there are so many nurses who also feel the exact same way.
I am still a paramedic, I still work with very sick children. But beyond my patient care duties I have acquired knowledge, skills, and experience to branch out and focus on the ability to provide my floor with someone who is an excellent communicator - not everyone excels in this arena..let's be honest. I am also equal parts firefighter (I put out the small fires before they become a bigger issue and require more resources), paramedic (performing my role as paramedic by keeping my nurses updated on any changes in the condition of their patients or anything I know they are wanting to know), patient advocate (solving problems for families without requiring the manager or nurse's time), and even crisis mitigator - by explaining to parents, in language they understand, exactly what is going on when we engage in emergency procedures on their children. I actually started doing that many years ago, when I observed how no one was talking to the family during a code and found that inexcusable at best. I wanted them to have some understanding of what was going on during what was probably one of the worst moment's of their lives.
As a result of the positive feedback I have received from my current leadership and coworkers, I finally realized that it wasn't necessary to me to become a nurse to bring about change, to educate, to console and comfort, to excel in my caring for children and helping others do the same. All I needed was a change in my attitude and a change in my environment.
When those around you are no longer aware or appreciative of the extent and scope of your contribution, it is time to leave.
That was a hard realization for me, and one long overdue. During the time I was doing the program, I was working at what began as a wonderful place to be, but over the years morphed into a place I barely recognized...and it took a toll on my studies, and my life in general. Even though I thought I could weather the storm, I was drowning and couldn't even recognize it. I had done my part to let my studies fall by the wayside. It was time once again to prioritize and get back to what I did well.
Who knows, maybe I'll find myself in nursing school in a few years, again? Perhaps not. All I know is that right now I am happy to be where I am. And I wouldn't have been here were it not for my own particular circumstances and ability to learn from my mistakes.
Thank you to all of you who have provided me with encouragement over the years! You were there even when I didn't think I needed someone, and I am forever grateful. This is a great community of nurses and others who should be proud of their contributions to this site and its members. What I want my nurses to never forget is that regardless of our role, we are all in this together. Saving lives, making lives better, that's no job for just one person...it is a team effort. And my current team, like so many other teams I've had in my 22 plus years in pediatrics, is amazing.