Mitzi Newberry - DAISY Award Winner

January 10, 2018

Some people fix things with hammers and nails. Mitzi Newberry, RN, has a few different tools in her belt.

The second recipient of Starr Regional Medical Center's DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, Newberry didn't know she wanted to be a nurse early on in her life - she just knew what she wanted to do with her life.

"I'm a fixer. I like to fix everything - people, situations. And my husband, Travis, is over maintenance at the hospital, so he's a fixer, too," Newberry said. "I always felt like I needed to help people, and healthcare has given me a way to do that."

The Calhoun native and current Niota resident studied nursing at Cleveland State Community College, then moved with her husband to Jacksonville, Florida, where he served in the Navy and she worked in a rehabilitation facility. The couple later moved back home, with Newberry starting her 18-year career in surgery at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. After two years, she moved closer to home with a position at the Surgery Center of Cleveland before moving on to Starr Regional Medical Center.

"In surgery, all you do is fix things, so it was a perfect fit," Newberry said. "I enjoy every aspect of surgery."

In her current role as the hospital's clinical educator, Newberry still gets to fix things - just from a different perspective.

"I like to learn and share what I've learned with others and help them improve in their roles," Newberry said, noting she educates new employees, staff members, and patients in a variety of areas through the position. "I really love to look for new things to share so I can help the team and help individuals to be better."

Outside of work, Newberry enjoys playing piano for Spanish church and singing in the choir at Fairview Baptist Church.

Newberry has two daughters: Abigail, who is in nursing school, and Rachel, a sophomore at Fairview Christian Academy who wants to be a nurse practitioner.

"I guess they're fixers, too," Newberry said with a smile. "It must run in the family."

Starr Regional Medical Center campuses in Athens and Etowah are seeking the community's help to recognize the work of outstanding local nurses through participation in the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses program.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, Calif., was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

"When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night," said Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, president and co-founder of The DAISY Foundation. "Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do. The kind of work the nurses at Starr Regional Medical Center are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award."

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses at Starr Regional to receive The DAISY Award. Awards will be given quarterly at presentations given in front of the nurse's colleagues, physicians, patients, and visitors. Each honoree will receive a certificate commending her or him for being an "Extraordinary Nurse." The certificate reads: "In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people." The honoree will also be given a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called A Healer's Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Africa.

Nomination forms are available in lobbies, nursing units, cafeterias, emergency rooms, and other locations in Starr Regional's Athens and Etowah campuses.

The form can also be found online at

DAISY Nurses must meet the following criteria in order to be selected for the award:

  • Provided compassionate care. Kept the patient and their family at the center of care.
  • Demonstrated professionalism in the work environment.
  • Communicated clearly and effectively with coworkers and patients.
  • Committed to the highest standards of professional nursing practice.
  • Demonstrated excellent clinical and critical thinking skills.

The DAISY Award program is open to nurses only, such as LPNs, RNs, and nurse practitioners. If non-nurses receive a nomination, they will be recognized separately from the DAISY Award program.

For more information, visit