An important consideration when working with patients is their cultural background. Understanding an individual’s culture and personal experiences provides insight into who the person is and where he or she may progress in the future. Culture helps to establish a sense of identity, as well as to set values, behaviors, and purpose for individuals within a society. Culture may also contribute to a divide between specific interpretations of cultural behavior and societal norms. What one culture may deem as appropriate another culture may find inappropriate. As a result, it is important for advanced practice nurses to remain aware of cultural considerations and interpretations of behavior for diagnosis, especially with reference to substance-related disorders. At the same time, PMHNPs must balance their professional and legal responsibilities for assessment and diagnosis with such cultural considerations and interpretations.
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