I just quit my first nursing job today. I was hired on the orthopedic floor on a temporary license, passed my NCLEX on the first try and really want to be a good nurse. The problem? I was given a preceptor who worked with me for four days and then our schedules diverged. After that, I was assigned, off the cuff, to whichever nurse agreed to take me on any given day. I felt completely lost and I could tell my constant questions were irritating to them. I'm still having problems with routine tasks, not to mention figuring out what to do in a crisis, and I was terrified of making a mistake. I asked that I be scheduled on the same days as my original preceptor, but last week she went on vacation, and the nurse who was assigned to me took two rooms, gave me five, and I never saw her again. That night I made a med error and ended up totally swamped. My nurse leader called me in for a chat today and told me that I wasn't getting things done in a timely manner and he didn't think I was making progress. He thought I should be ready to go off orientation and manage seven patients on my own by now. It's been two months. He said if I quit and worked at a nursing home for a couple of years I could come back and try again. So I quit, because I knew it was a matter of time before I got into a situation that would cost me my license or hurt a patient. Now I'm looking for employment and feeling like a failure. This whole situation has really cut into my self-esteem. How long a time is reasonable to expect to work with a dedicated preceptor before being "cut loose"?