I'm glad that you had a better night. When the nurse you were with asked you if you wanted to take patients, she just meant that you would do everything independently and only come to her if you had questions. I'm glad that you chose the "follow" option, I would have too. In fact, as I mentioned before, I have several years of Med/Surg nursing under my belt and when I started my current job in June and began my orientation on the floor, I also had a couple of my preceptors ask if I wanted to take a couple of patients or just shadow them, and I wasn't afraid to tell them that yeah, I wanted to shadow at least for the first two times or so. The thing for me is that I am very able to do the patient care end of the job, but if I don't know how the paperwork or orders are done, where to file things, where to find supplies, etc. then the patient care becomes very stressful very quickly because I have to take time to learn those things, and we all know that nurses don't really have time to be learning what they need to be doing when they have their own patient load. Also, you won't remember every single thing that you are told, so don't expect that you will, and don't stress out when you don't. I am working independently and taking shifts on one of the four floors that I am being oriented to now (I am going to be a float nurse) and I still have to say things like, "Hey, Trish, can you tell me again where I'm supposed to put these forms after the patient is discharged?", etc. No big deal, no one can remember everything. Don't beat yourself up if this happens to you too.
As far as switching preceptors, that's a tricky one. I completely understand where you're coming from, because let's face it, some people are cut out to be teachers, and some aren't. I have had some fantastic preceptors, and then I have had some less than great ones. The thing is, though, that you want your supervisor to see that you can work with all kinds of people, because that is something that is imperative for a nurse to be able to do. If you ask her to switch you because you like the other nurse better or don't think that the assigned preceptor is very good at it, that may not come across very well. I would definitely speak to her, but try being very diplomatic by saying something like, "Wow, I can't believe how much better Saturday night went for me!" She will say something like, "Oh, good. What do you mean?", and you can say something like, "Well, Mary Smith RN allowed me to just shadow her and get a really good feel for the floor, which is something that I really needed. She was also very helpful in explaining things without making me feel rushed or having me do things that I don't feel ready to do independently just yet." That way, you aren't really bashing your assigned preceptor, but you are letting the supervisor know in a subtle way who is the better preceptor and why. Then, she will hopefully ask you if you would like a different preceptor, or tell you that you can definitely ask your assigned preceptor to slow down and let you do things in a more gradual way. I just don't know if I would ask to have a completely different preceptor at this point. Nursing, being a profession that is dominated by women, can lead to some pretty gossipy, catty environments, unfortunately, and if your assigned preceptor finds out that you requested someone else, it might come back to bite you when working with her or her friends in the future. That's just my opinion though, so take it as just that. If you really want to ask for a different preceptor, then you are the only one who really knows what you need to do to get yourself where you need to be with this new job.
I really do believe that if you can hang out and make this work, it will be much, much better for achieving your long term goal of working in a hospital specialty unit than quitting and going to a non-hospital setting.