I loved my first job as an RN and left it because I literally got sick from dealing with the "forked-tongued Head Nurse from H*##." I wished later that I would have tried some of these ideas with her, but at the time I was too intimidated to speak out. I have used these techniques since I realized that I do have my own 2 feet to stand on and I am a good nurse; and these suggestions have helped me be more aware of how I can effect change in my workplace.
Start writing down some of the stuff that you do right each day (after your work shift is over); and write down some of the stuff that you have needed to fix from the previous shift so that: 1.)you feel better about your own capabilities; and 2.)you have some written proof for her that you are doing things to make the workplace function better. If you are slower than your co-workers and stay after your shift a lot, sometimes I think you may be targeted for that (been there, done that). It would be nice to know what she means about giving you more orientation-- does she feel that you have poor organizational skills or what?
Ask to meet with her after you have been keeping the work journal for 1-2 weeks and bring it with you to the meeting. Tell her that you feel she is targeting you and ask why this is happening. Let her know that you love your job, but that you feel she is putting undue stress on you in the job by making you feel that you are inadequate. Ask what she expects from you. Have her give specific examples; be direct and honest with her and expect her to be the same way with you. Ask how she thinks that you can change the way you work to do things better.
This may sound dumb, but sit up straight, be calm, and be sure to look her in the eyes when speaking to her and when listening to her; make sure she knows you ARE LISTENING and understanding what she says to you. Reword her advice and rephrase it to her so you both agree on what was said. Act confident and sure of yourself, even if you don't feel that way at first. You are not going in to this meeting to be intimidated, but to discuss ways to make your work- and your workplace- meet her expectations. If she runs the unit by intimidation, going in as an equal may be a way to get her off your back since those that intimidate don't like to be treated as equals.
At the end of the meeting, you can discuss some of the stuff from the work journal if necessary; for example, if all shifts are messing up the I&Os, discuss with her ways that the UNIT AS A WHOLE can change the way they are doing I&Os so that there is a more accurate and accessible way of doing them. It is impossible for the night shift nurse to know what the pt. ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and how often the urine was emptied throughout the day if it wasn't written down. How can it be recorded easier? Suggest posting a sign in the conference room for everyone to check their totals before they leave, for instance, or moving the I&O sheets to the rooms so they can be filled out through each shift.
By using a direct approach and trying to work with her instead of being afraid of her, you can make your manager know that you are trying to do what you can to make the unit run smoothly. Make her aware that you are trying to improve both your work performance and also your workplace issues.
Maybe by asking for and meeting with her, you will both leave the meeting with a better understanding of each other and you won't be so stressed out in the future.