Representatives of U.S. nurses’ union visit Alberta to see public health care in operation 

For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 

A delegation of nine nurse and staff leaders from National Nurses United is in Alberta to learn about Canadian single-payer health care as Registered Nurses across the United States fight for a Medicare for All system that will guarantee health care as a human right. 

National Nurses United, the largest union of RNs in the United States with 150,000 members nationwide, has won landmark health and safety protections for nurses and patients in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence protection. 

The fight for a just and fair public health care system similar to Canada’s that has been led for decades by NNU nurses continues and is gaining momentum as Medicare for All becomes an important issue in the upcoming U.S. elections. 

“As bedside nurses, we see how our patients are suffering from the U.S.’s profit-driven health care system,” said NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, an RN for more than 30 years. “We talk to our patients who are often forced to choose between seeking medical care or paying their rent or electricity.”

Burger thanked United Nurses of Alberta for hosting the visit by the U.S. nursing leaders. “We are grateful to the United Nurses of Alberta leaders, and the leaders of their national union, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, who welcomed us to learn about their country’s more humane system where health care is based on need and not on ability to pay.”

UNA President Heather Smith welcomed the guests from the United States. “We are very proud to live in a country with a universal health care system and are delighted to have the opportunity to discuss its strengths with our friends from the United States,” she said.

“We are also pleased to have the opportunity to dispel some of the myths about Canadian health care that have been spread to citizens of the United States and to outline the improved care for patients and the lower cost to taxpayers a Canadian-style single-payer health care system would mean,” Smith said.

UNA has arranged a meeting between Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and the U.S. nursing leaders, as well as a visit the University of Alberta Hospital, Smith added .

Founded in 2009, National Nurses United has members in every U.S. state and is the largest union and professional association of Registered Nurses in American history. It is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. 

United Nurses of Alberta represents more than 30,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and allied health care workers throughout Alberta.


To arrange an interview with NNU and UNA leaders, please contact:

Dave Cournoyer
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta

David Climenhaga
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta