it is very interesting to happen upon your message thread. i too am having picu orientation woes, but from the opposite position: i am a nursing preceptor, and frustrated daily by my orientee's inability to grasp even the most fundamental of nursing tasks.
i can't make excuses for your preceptor and the negative orientation experience that you are having. one is unable to learn in a punitive and unsupportive environment. when i began my own picu career, i too had a nightmarish preceptor who made me cry and hate nursing altogether...and at that time, i was a 30 y/o guy! in retrospect, however, i am now grateful for my preceptor having pressured me so hard: the stress you are receiving now is itself a lesson, and only a mere fraction of what you will experience on a daily basis when out in practice.
intensive care environments require individuals who can think, act, and move quickly. if you'll notice, most of your colleagues on the unit have type-a personalities, are extremely detail oriented, and are bossy, opinionated, micro-managers. these are all qualities you must possess as a critical care nurse...because your child's life is on the line. you need to react within seconds to an emergency. you must be able to simultaneously manage multiple stat tasks at once. you must be bossy enough to speak up to a physician when you don't agree with or understand the current plan of care...because you are a patient advocate and your patient can not speak for them self. and, i'm sorry, in the course of your picu career, you will be screamed at by physicians and made to feel incompetent...but the trick is learning to let negativity roll right off, choking back your tears, and remaining hyper-focused on your patient and the task at hand.
what frustrates me most about my current orientee, is that there is no sense of urgency in anything she does. no sense of panic...which one needs. she also has no critical thinking ability, and this scares me. it is also concerning to me that this woman graduated from a four-year, accredited university, passed her boards...and yet came to us seeming unable to perform even the most basic clinical skills. she is unable to perform even basic med calculations. we are six weeks into her orientation and she is still unable to operate the iv pump correctly. what happens 8 weeks from now when she has dopa running and her kid's pressure is 20-over-nothing?
i have spoken to my manager, and expressed my reservations. i even stated quite bluntly to my orientee: i am not a nursing i instructor, and cannot waste valuable orientation time reviewing nursing fundamentals. my manager believes in "learning curves" and "allowing time for growth." meanwhile, i'm losing sleep and pulling out what's left of my hair worrying about her when she's finally on her own!