As someone who is nearing the end of my orientation in L&D, I am going to throw in my 2 cents.
On my unit, new grads are given a 12 week orientation. Experienced nurses are given 6 weeks. We are the first group of new grads to go through the AWHONN orientation classes - 80 hours over 3 months. We learn all body systems and complications, etc., NB transition, PP, EFM - everything. This helps immensely because you go further into depth than you did in nursing school. Helps to make connections. Because we have this class and I am losing floor hours because of it, I squeezed two more weeks in. We do cross-train to other areas. A week on High-Risk Antepartum, a day or two with our baby nurse, three days scrubbing in OR, a week of c/s circulating, a day in the big PACU downstairs . . . I think we're supposed to have a day in triage, but we can't be assigned there until we've had a year experience.
We go to nights afterwards; there are six of us new grads so three of us are going to nights (me included), while three stay on days, and then we flip flop every six weeks. Not sure how long that's going to happen. Wish they'd just leave me on nights, but anyways . . .
We always have a resource person, and we still will be paired with another nurse when we have a pt with things going on we didn't get to take care of in official orientation. Everyone watches out for you, especially the charge nurse. They don't expect you to fully function without support on your own for about a year.
Having said all that, I must point out that not only did I work on our unit as an NA II, I also did a 3 week preceptorship at the end of nursing school up there, which really really helped to introduce me to the role of the nurse. I definately feel that I was at a great advantage when I actually started as an RN.
My preceptor does not believe in letting me "watch". From the first day I was getting my hands dirty. I absolutely agree with Deb - you learn best hands on, which has also helped me.
Good luck with your orientation. You will have days that you feel you cannot do it - stick it out, and remember that they don't expect you to know it all right away! Ask lots of questions - never be afraid to ask anything. And this forum is a wonderful way to vent and gather support and ask questions about tough pts and situations.