Contact precautions. You will see this sign posted countless times outside of patient rooms. It is standard protocol in any healthcare setting to protect team members and visitors from potentially harmful bacteria. However as medical students and eventual physicians we silently learn another form of contact precautions emotionally. We learn to distance ourselves from patients. We see illness and trauma so often our senses become blunted. Our patient lists are so full of “frequent fliers” that it is easy to become cynical and overlook the suffering human being in front of us who is looking to us for answers. This year as you venture onto the wards, I challenge you to not take these emotional contact precautions. Please still wash your hands, but I urge you to seize opportunities to meet patients and obtain their histories free of bias of their health care labels. Learn what they do for a living, the names of their children, and their hobbies. As a medical student, you have the most time to communicate with patients. Embrace this time in your career to practice compassion. Ask if they need anything before leaving their room. Offer to come update them later after rounds. Hold their hand while observing a painful procedure performed by the resident. Although you may not consider this as your role or a part of your nonexistent paygrade, they are small acts of kindness that can make a difference. This year you may seem lost on the wards not knowing what to do or how to act. You will observe many styles of patient care. I challenge you watch closely and adopt behaviors that practice humanity. Imitate those who take the time to listen to their patients and properly explain procedures and plans. So that in addition to mastering blocks of UWorld this year you will learn the building blocks of compassionate care. And it will make you a better physician than your board score ever will.