Marie Nahikian carried her campaign for the D.C. City Council yesterday to Washington Hospital Center, where she sought to spotlight improved health care for Washingtonians as a major issue.

After being turned away on her first - and publicly announced - visit in the morning, Nahikian returned for a closed meeting in the afternoon with the hospital's administrator, Richard Loughery.

Afterward she termed the session a qualified success.

She said it dramatized community fears that the sprawling 911-bed facility may dilute its role in serving chiefly District of Columbia residents as it seeks a broadened metropolitan role.

And, from her own political view-point, it served notice that she plans an activist role if elected to the council.

Like many of her eight rivals who also are aspiring to the Democratic nomination for an at-large council seat, Nahikian has been seeking issues to capture public attention.

Yesterday's visits began, she said, when some hospital center employes called in distress over the effects of layoffs that followed a 31-day strike by registered nurses in June and July.

On Monday, she wrote a letter to Loghery and other hospital officials saying she would show up to meet with them at 11 a.m. yesterday. She notified reporters.

Loughery sent word, however, that he had a prior engagement, and invited her back for a private meeting at 4 p.m. Afterward, she said she was distressed at Loghery's seeming emphasis on serving the region and inconclusive word on the fate of 115 employees still laid off after a 31-day strike by nurses earlier this year.