The healthcare system in Portugal once ranked 13th among the best healthcare systems in Europe. The quality of healthcare provided in the country is excellent and steadily improving. As proof of the excellence of the Portuguese healthcare system, the country has shown high vaccination rates and high life expectancy over the years. The country has free public healthcare or state-provided healthcare, which is generally accessible to all citizens and legal residents of the country. Some of the free public healthcare services provided to the people include medical procedures, preventive care, and diagnosis. These services are extensively and heavily subsidized by the government through the people’s taxes.

The Portugal government has been expecting an increase in the numbers of their healthcare professionals. However, contrary to the increase of frontliners and workers are thousands of doctors, nurses, and other professionals who have been infected with the coronavirus. These healthcare professionals cannot provide services yet to Portuguese patients, and their health is also the priority of the government. With this, Portugal is looking into increasing more of its healthcare workers. The demand for healthcare professionals is as high as the other countries seriously facing the effects of COVID-19. And since the nurses are the first line of defense of any health institution or hospital and are responsible for providing care for Portuguese patients, the Portugal health authorities are considering hiring more nurses, whether they are locals or from abroad. Also, according to the government, it is absolutely crucial to allow nurses from outside the country to work in Portugal due to the significantly high increase in the number of covid-positive patients.

For more knowledge regarding the career path of nurses in the country and how to become a nurse in Portugal, the procedures will be enumerated below.

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Steps Become a Nurse in Portugal

1. Find a Portuguese University that Offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

The nursing programs or courses offered in Portugal usually take four years to finish and complete. If you want to be a nurse in Portugal, you have to enroll in a Portuguese university that offers nursing programs. Nurses are an integral part of society, and Portugal acknowledges this fact with a high-quality education system offered to these soon-to-be professionals. Some of the best universities offering nursing courses are the Cooperative dez Ensino Superior Politécnico e Universitário (CESPU), The University of Minho School of Nursing, and Universidade de Trás-Os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD). Be sure to visit various university websites to see what the school has to offer and to see if the university can meet all your expectations in studying nursing.

2. Choose the Career Path You Want to Achieve in the Nursing Profession

Students will have the option to choose what to study, and some of these choices include adult nursing, children’s nursing, mental health nursing, young adult nursing, and whatnot. There are a lot of nursing career paths a student may choose, but it is certain that whichever course or program the students choose, the Portuguese educational system will provide the basic and foundation knowledge of the nursing profession along with training and opportunities to develop and strengthen your nursing skills.

3. Finish the Nursing Degree and Obtain a Diploma

The nursing degree offered in Portuguese institutions is designed for both theoretical and practical application of the student’s knowledge. Lectures, seminars, and technical and practical sessions will be conducted over the years to prepare the students to be qualified and recognized as a nurse in the country. Clinical practice training will also be conducted to improve the students’ clinical skills. Students must complete the four-year course or program to be able to obtain a diploma from their chosen universities.

4. For International Students and/or Nurses, Obtain a Language Proficiency Certificate

Language proficiency is no longer needed for Portuguese residents and citizens; however, for international students who wish to study nursing in Portugal and international nurses who wish to work in the country, it is necessary to obtain an advanced level of English and Portuguese language proficiency to be accepted and allowed to study in Portuguese institutions, and work in Portugal. The language of instruction in universities is both English and Portuguese. These will also be practiced once the student graduates and finds work in the country.

5. For International Students, Submit All Requirements and Obtain a Diploma

Once the language proficiency certificate is obtained, the international student is ready to submit the requirements to study nursing in Portugal. It is necessary to visit the universities portal or website to learn more about the requirements needed. Some of the basic requirements needed in studying in Portugal are as follows:

  • Language proficiency certificate
  • High school diploma or certificate of completion of secondary education
  • An identification card or any proof of identity

International students coming from non-EU countries may be required to take an entrance examination by their chosen universities before their admission. Also, make sure to visit Immigration to see all requirements needed to be allowed to study in Portugal.

6. Apply for Registration in the Portuguese Nursing Society

For students who finished and completed their nursing degree and have obtained a nursing qualification in Portugal, they must send an application for registration to the Portuguese Nursing Society. This registration is necessary to be able to work and provide healthcare or professional services in the country.

Please visit the Ordem dos enfermeiros for further details regarding the registration of nurses in Portugal.

7. For Foreign Nurses, obtain all the Necessary Qualifications in Working as a Nurse in Portugal

Foreign or international nurses who wish to work as a nurse in Portugal must take the step of submitting their application to the Portuguese nursing society and submit all the documents required by the authorities. Some of the documents needed for the application are as follows:

  • Proof of nationality
  • Copy of professional certificate or license
  • Proof of professional experience
  • Proof that you have no criminal record
  • Medical certificate indicating that you are fit to work
  • Proof of financial standing and insurance

All the required documents must be notarized and legalized by your country’s competent authority. The applicant is required to submit a certified translation of the documents along with the original copies of these documents. All the forms that need to be accomplished can also be found on the Ordem dos enfermeiros website.

To know more about the qualifications, please see the Ordem dos enfermeiros website.

8. Look for Possible Portuguese Employers, and Meet the Country’s Cost of Living

Once the foreign nurse’s application is granted and accepted by the competent authority, he or she is already allowed to work in the country and provide services to Portuguese patients. Before flying to the country, make sure that your finances are properly budgeted to meet the cost of living in the country. The nurses can also choose whether to be employed to provide private or public healthcare.


I hope that this article on Steps to Become a Nurse in Portugal was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Europe, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.