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Joan Pennington Totka, Ph.D., RN

Joan Pennington Totka
Joan Pennington Totka, Ph.D., RNMarquette University

Clark Hall, 345

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-0506

Joint Clinical Assistant Professor

Highest Degree and Institution

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Courses Taught

NURS 4000:  Quality and Safety in Nursing

NURS 4995: Independent Study in Nursing

NURS 6010: Research and Evidence

NURS 6825: Quality and Patient Safety in Healthcare

HEAL 7010:  Translational Research

Research Interests

I have been a pediatric nurse throughout my career.  My clinical area of expertise is Type 1 Diabetes in children.  I am very interested is supporting the care of children with chronic illness and their families across the continuum of care.  I am interested in studying patient centered outcomes of care, such as health related quality of life and social determinant of health as well as family and healthcare team experience and acceptance and use of these tools in clinical settings.  My overarching goal would be to support improvement of health services and outcomes for children with chronic illness and their families.

Current projects:

  1. Review of the effectiveness of the diabetes REACH clinic: An Interprofessional clinic for high risk youth with diabetes
  2. Family and Provider Experience Using Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in High-Risk Asthma and Diabetes Clinics
  3. Documenting prevalence, patient characteristics, and mental health interventions offered to youth with diabetes and positive depression screens

Professional Affiliations

American Association of Diabetes Educators

International Family Nursing Association  

Midwest Nursing Research Society

Sigma Theta Tau International - Eta Nu Chapter


Pediatrics: care and education of children with chronic illness and their families.

Research: Evidence-based practice, Implementation Science, Translational Research, Qualitative Research.


Link to Marquette University E-Publications - Totka

Ziebert, C., Klingbeil, C., Schmitt, C. A., Stonek, A. V., Totka, J. P., Stelter, A., & Schiffman, R. F. (2016). Lessons learned: Newly hired nurses' perspectives on transition into practice. Journal of Nurses Professional Development, 32(5), E1-8.

Klingbeil, C., Johnson, N., Totka, J., & Doyle, L. (2009). How to Select the Correct Education Strategy: When not to go on-line. Journal of Nursing Staff Development. 25(6). p. 287-291.

Alemzadeh, R, Palma-Sisto, P, Parton, E., Totka, J., Kirby, M., (2003). Beneficial effects of flexible insulin therapy in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Acta Diabetol, 40: 137-142.

McCormick, K.L., Mick, G.J., Butterfield, L., Ross, H., Parton, E., Totka, J., (2001).  Leptin in Children with Newly Diagnosed Type 1 diabetes: Effect of Insulin Therapy. Int. Jnl. Experimental Diab. Res., 2, 121-127.

Hains,A.A., Davies, W.H., Parton, E., Totka, J., & Amoroso-Camarata, J., (2000).  Metabolic control and quality of life self-assessment in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.  The Diabetes Educator, 26, 417-424.

Totka, J. (1996).  Exploring the Boundaries of Pediatric Practice: Nurse Stories Related to Relationships.  Pediatric Nursing, 20(10), 1-6.

Honors and Awards

Sigma Theta Tau Doctoral Poster Award     
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  Type 1 Diabetes: Factors that affect youth and parent HRQOL and youth A1c

Sigma Theta Tau Excellence in Education Award
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Demonstrated excellence in supporting clinical and family education.

Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (ACCH)

Award for Innovation
For the development of an innovative outpatient program for children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and their families that included outpatient initiation of insulin and a year-long program of multidisciplinary education to support their care at home.

Julie Lathrop Nursing Research Award
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin- one award per year for demonstrated excellence in nursing
Exploring the Boundaries of Pediatric Practice: Nurse Stories Related to Relationships (a qualitative study using Heideggerian hermeneutical analysis)
Nursing Transitions during the first year of practice (a mixed methods program evaluation study)


2020: Co-I (PI: Aubel, B, Co-I Wolfgram, P, Kaugars, A, Fannin R.).Documenting prevalence, patient characteristics, and mental health interventions offered to youth with diabetes and positive depression screens.” Medical College of Wisconsin Devin Wyatt Memorial Research Grant

2019-2020: PI (Co-I Wolfgram, P., Steinberg, J., Kaugars, A.) “Patient and Provider Experience Using PRO’s in High Risk Asthma and Diabetes Clinics”

Emory T. Clark Hall, home of Marquette University's College of Nursing

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