Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Kathleen Clark DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Cheryl Leuning PhD, RN

Third Advisor

Michelle Palmborg DNP, RN


This project was guided by Parse’s Humanbecoming Theory and focused on identifying and implementing relationship building skills to connect, build trust, and develop relationships with sexually exploited, marginalized, at-risk youth. Sexual exploitation is a severe form of interpersonal trauma due to extreme betrayal that impairs an individual’s capacity for attachment, intimacy, and trust. Engaging with this vulnerable population is essential to meeting their complex health and social service needs. It is necessary to use a trauma informed care approach. The RB skills were identified through a literature review, praxis (mētis) knowledge learned by leading groups, journaling, reflecting, modifying, implementing, and journaling again. Thirteen RB skills, referred to as mētis nuggets, were identified as conducive to deeper, more meaningful connections and building trusting relationships with SE youth. These mētis nuggets are be aware of yourself, be knowledgeable but not a know-it-all, be non-judgmental, be intentional, be a deep listener, be empathetic and validating, be patient and calm, be curious about their interests, be all about the youth, be casual in a genuine way, be a foodie, be available, and be balanced. The mētis nuggets were verified through interviews with an adult who escaped sexual exploitation, a “retired” female gang member, and a community case manager with ten years of experience working with SE youth and women. In addition, a VoiceThread presentation was created and disseminated to nurses and other care giving disciplines with an evaluation survey at the end regarding the usefulness of the mētis nuggets. The three semi-structured, informal interviews and the survey results supported the efficacy of the thirteen mētis nuggets learned.


SC 11.DNP.2021.LaRose.J