Nurse, mom, veteran, and cancer survivor: Meet Margarita Lechuga-Nuno, RN

Nurses perform countless acts of humankindness every day and it’s all those moments that make them so deserving of our gratitude. More than 660 nurses provide life-saving care at California Hospital Medical Center each and every day.

Nurse, mom, veteran, and cancer survivor. Those are just a few words to describe Margarita Lechuga-Nuno, RN.  

In 2014, Margarita joined California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) as a patient navigator at Hope Street Margolis Family Center, a family-centered community health and wellness program of the hospital, to help connect patients with the continuum of care and services the hospital provides after being discharged. 

Margarita Lechuga-Nuno, RNShe then transitioned into their Early Head Start Program, which offers comprehensive child development and family support services designed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and school failure by helping families support and encourage their children's early growth and development—all while being concurrently enrolled in nursing school. 

In 2016 she graduated from nursing school knowing she wanted to stay at CHMC. 

“I really wanted to work here [at CHMC],” Margarita says. “It’s the best place to train and you’re exposed to so many different types of people who need specific types of care.  I knew I wanted to work with women and babies.” She joined the post-partum unit and then transitioned into labor and delivery, where she’s welcomed the hospital’s youngest patients for the last seven years. 

As a nurse, Margarita takes particular pride in talking to patients to make sure they feel comfortable in their care journey at the hospital, especially through communication. As one of the most linguistically diverse hospitals within CommonSpirit Health, two out of every three patients at CHMC prefer to speak a language other than English.

“Speaking to people in plain language is so important,” she emphasizes. “I really break it down with patients. For instance if a patient is experiencing vision changes, well what does that mean? Are objects blurry, or cloudy? Does light bother you? Do you see flashing lights or dark sports? Do you see anything out of the norm?” 

Giving back is also very important to Margarita. After emigrating to Los Angeles from Mexico City at 14, she enlisted in the US Army at 17 and served as a medic for 10 years including in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War. At CHMC, she served on the DAISY Award committee to recognize exceptional nurses, and has served as a preceptor for nursing new grads. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she volunteered at vaccine clinics ensuring people in the community were protected against the virus.  

“I enjoy working with people and being able to work with them at a time when they are vulnerable gives me the opportunity to help make a difference in someone's life during a time of need,” says the avid patient safety advocate. “The promotion of health and overall wellness for all in an individualized way is something that is very important to me.” 

In 2022, Margarita’s life turned upside down when she suddenly found herself as a patient and diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. After 15 months of recovery including chemotherapy, the mother of two is happy to share that she's cancer free and looks forward to returning to the new labor & delivery unit in the new patient tower opening later this year. 

In the meantime, she assists CHMC’s Community Health Department by conducting health screenings, including at our recent Heart of the City Wellness Festival on April 6 where she screened individuals for anemia and checked their cholesterol and A1C levels. She also coordinates efforts between the Cancer Support Community of Los Angeles to provide a support group for patients at the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health, and is an instructor for STOP THE BLEED®,  a course that teaches people to recognize life-threatening bleeding and how to intervene effectively before professional help arrives.

“Working here has led me to leave my mark on people in different ways,” Margarita adds.

Join us during Nurses Week, May 6 – 12, in celebrating and honoring the vast contributions, heroic efforts, and positive impact that nurses like Margarita have on our health, our community and our world.

You can thank these everyday heroes and support their work by making a donation in their honor. “Donating is a great investment in the community,” she says. 

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