Nursing with Compassion: An Inspiring Path to A Calling María Lozada

Twenty-five years ago, María Lozada’s infant son, Jeremiah, developed a fever. At the time, Lozada was a 24-year-old wife and mother, juggling her work at the California Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program with the classes needed to become an elementary school teacher. But as Jeremiah’s fever raged, he was admitted to MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. This experience changed Lozada’s life forever. 

Maternity Photo

Jeremiah was diagnosed with an enlarged lymph node and stayed in the hospital for a week. Lozada never left his side. During that week, she encountered kind and understanding nurses offering comfort. But there were others who seemed indifferent to her anguish. In the late hours of the night, as Lozada sat by Jeremiah’s bedside, her eyes tracing the faint rise and fall of his chest, a seed took root within her. “I can do this,” she thought. “I can be the kind of nurse who brings comfort and compassion to those in need.” 

Once Jeremiah was old enough, Lozada changed her education focus from teaching to nursing. She attended the Rio Hondo Nursing Program and became a TELACU Scholar, which led her to Adventist Health White Memorial (AHWM) for her clinical rotations. Fluent in Spanish, Lozada was able to communicate and understand the cultural challenges of her patients. In addition, her strong Christian faith further deepened her connection with the people she served. 

During her clinical rotations, Lozada saw the healthcare disparities and challenges the East Los Angeles community faced. However, she also witnessed the immense gratitude from her patients and their families, which fueled her passion for nursing and ultimately led her to choose to work at the AHWM maternity unit in 2005. 

The maternity ward at AHWM faces a unique set of challenges. Pregnancy education often begins too late – after the baby is born – and new mothers grapple with lots of conflicting advice from well-meaning family members. Additionally, the lack of prenatal education leads new mothers to come to the hospital unprepared for the realities of breastfeeding, as babies and moms struggle to learn the delicate dance of latching and feeding. From personal experience with her three sons, Lozada empathizes with the sometimes frustrating and emotional process. But now as a certified lactation educator, she understands the importance of perseverance and offering her patients the education they need to succeed. 

Many mothers served by AHWM are from populations that have higher rates comorbidities like chronic hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity. These medical issues complicate pregnancies and can lead to a higher rate of Cesarean section (C-section), a procedure that can carry more risks than a vaginal birth. Fortunately, Lozada and her colleagues are educated and skilled in supporting their patients as they navigate the complexities of pregnancy, birth and the early days of motherhood. 

Today, Lozada is the maternity unit supervisor. She admits that there were times when she considered leaving AHWM to be closer to her home in Long Beach. “This would be so much easier somewhere else,” Lozada said with a slight laugh. “I’m five minutes away from Long Beach. I stay here because of God and for the love that I have for the community.” 

For future nurses, Lozada emphasizes that nursing is ever evolving. They must be adaptable, have compassion and truly understand their motivations for entering the profession. As mental health awareness grows, nurses are crucial in addressing mental health issues across various populations, including mothers in the maternity unit. 

By keeping their motivations and love for their community at the forefront, nurses like Lozada make a lasting difference in the patients’ lives at Adventist Health White Memorial. 

Adventist Health White Memorial provides comprehensive, compassionate care to women and mothers in the community. With the help of nurses like María Lozada, in 2022, the hospital delivered 3,927 babies. In addition, Adventist Health White Memorial is designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, ensuring a high standard of care for expectant mothers. The hospital also boasts a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  For more information, please visit the maternity care webpage

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