My best advice is to pay careful attention to your first impressions - of the people you’ll be serving and the hospital culture that will be the context for your work - beginner's mind could be your best teacher here. If at all possible, try to jot down your impressions and thoughts, because in about 2 months, you'll be part of the system and won't notice this stuff - and it's terribly important to remember and let it inform the care you are giving.
Also, if you can,
- Keep a journal
- See to your own self-care, including exercise, meditation and/or guided imagery, to deal with the vicarious suffering that will be entering your very pores
- Hand-pick a sympatico work buddy (perhaps with a different skill set or approach) with whom to debrief on a regular, semi-structured basis
- Meet with peers, if possible, once a week, for solution-oriented discussions (as opposed to gripe sessions, which are ultimately demoralizing)
- Keep your heart open, but with good, behavioral boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, it's a closed heart that leads to burnout, not an open one.
Thank you for doing this work. I salute your adventurous spirit!