This is a wordy reply... I bolded my main point. Haha!
I can definitely relate to your anxiety Stella! During my orientation in the PICU I felt the same way with my preceptor. She kind of let me be on my own, even in the beginning of orientation. She would be busy chatting with other nurses and not around. She'd say I was doing a great job. But I was a new grad and this was my first nursing job ever. I needed some guidance and I wasn't really getting it from her. She wouldn't help me time manage, she kept saying things like "I can't even teach you all that you have to learn until you get better on time management." Yet she wouldn't give me pointers on how to be better. I seriously didn't learn very much from her, since I felt like I was on my own from the beginning. She wouldn't explain anything to me! For example, I was new and didn't know all of the doctors, apn's, residents. I asked her how she knows who to contact, where she finds this info from. She's like "oh you'll figure out who is who with time and just know." In reality, there was a call list and it would tell you who was on for the day/night. I didn't learn this until the second half of my orientation when I was on night shift. I would always panic over who to call if something bad happened, yet all it would have taken to ease my anxiety was if she showed me the call list!!!! I kind of felt like our personalities just didn't click and my learning style did not meet her teaching style. By my first month of orientation, she would seriously yell at me for asking questions... so I'd have to go to other nurses I met to ask them things. She would say things like "you should know this by now, you need to be more confident." But in reality I just didn't know and needed her to just help explain things to me. I remember drawing blood from an arterial line for the first time on my own after weeks of seeing it be done. I was a little nervous. She was on the computer so I told her I wanted to go over the steps as I drew from the line. I talked the steps out loud to myself and her (its the way I learn) and she just snapped at me that I've done this before and should know how to do it now. She didn't want me to explain the steps to myself as I did it. At this point, she stopped answering all of my questions and started to ignore me. She explained to me and my educator one day that this is the PICU and I'll be under stressful situations so I need to learn how to handle them on my own. I think she missed the point that it was orientation and I needed some guidance.
Sorry for my rant! But on to something more positive: I had another preceptor while on day shift for the cardiac icu part of our PICU. And I couldn't believe how much I was learning and growing with her. I learned so much from her, but she didn't have to spoon feed me anything. She was just there and knew how to teach and explain things. She was ALWAYS there for support. I learned time management (even though this took a while! It wasn't until I was on my own that I really learned how to time manage better), she helped guide me on my plan for the day. I wish my educator listened to my complaints with my first preceptor. I wish those first few months didn't get wasted with her. I still feel anxious at the thought of working on day shift, I don't feel prepared for it at all.. so I work straight nights currently.
My point is... it doesn't hurt to ask for a different preceptor. Some people just aren't compatible, and that's fine. You may need a different teaching style to help you get it. It wasn't until the end of my day shift orientation that I had a new preceptor for a short while and she was amazing. Luckily when I switched to night shift, my two preceptors were awesome and I learned so much from them. Advocate for yourself! It will be better in the long run, not only for you, but for your patients as well. As a new grad, going into an ICU setting is intense. You need someone to help you along your journey, it isn't fair to not get the full experience of the orientation because of a lousy preceptor.
The idea of taking care of 3-4 ICU patients is also a little scary. Are the assignments fair? Are the patients a bit more stable than the others on the unit? I know the PICU that I work at, sometimes assignments can be 3 patients if we are short staffed... but those patients are usually the most stable. Even then, its sometimes the kids who are ready to transfer to the floor/go home that end up coding.