The practice of medicine, although rooted in biological science, is a social endeavor. It depends on the interactions between patients and clinicians within the confines of a larger health care system. To the extent that we have vocabulary to describe these dynamic interactions, 1 word in particular has emerged as a catchphrase that simultaneously conjures the broad and specific meanings of such complicated processes. That word is culture. The term local culture, for example, refers to the more narrow range of interactions within a hospital unit or clinic. Surgical culture represents the broader relations at play when providing surgical care.
Yule S, Sacks GD, Maggard-Gibbons M. Innovative Approaches for Modifying Surgical Culture. JAMA Surg. 2016;151(9):791-792. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0425