Advanced Practice Nursing in Puerto Rico


APN Role Exists in Country Today:

Nurse Specialist

Nationally Certified:

Recognize Foreign License:

Treatment Authority:
No (but pending legislation to change)

Prescribing Authority:
No (but pending legislation to change)

Practice Autonomously:
No (but pending legislation to change)

Contact or more information:
Puerto Rico Health Department
Puerto Rico Nursing Practice Law (Ley 9, de 11 do octubre 1987)


Puerto Rico’s integrated relationship with the United States brings many of the advanced practice nursing roles to the island.  Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the united states but is primarily governed under it’s own laws, advanced practice nursing greatly mirrors that of the United States but is still in the process of approving legislature to recognize an autonomous role for advanced nurses similar to nurse practitioners.

Education and Certification

Varying degrees exist for nursing in Puerto Rico based on the varying levels of practice.  Individuals who practice at the nursing generalist level require a bachelor’s degree, for advanced practice one needs a masters degree.  Current legislation proposals have suggested that individuals can additionally gain a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) for further advancement and specialization (Parés Arroyo, 2015, April 4).

Currently, there are several universities in Puerto Rico that offer such advanced degrees for nurses inclduing the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recintos de Ciencias Médicas, Arecibo, Humacao y Mayagüez; Universidad del Turabo; Universidad Interamericana en Arecibo e Inter Metro; y la UMET (Parés Arroyo, 2015, April 4).


The nursing role in Puerto Rico mirrors that similarly to the United states with varying educational degrees and roles of nurses (Parés Arroyo, 2015, April 4):

  • Nurse Specialist – Educated with a masters degree, this specialty allows the nurse to manage more complicated health situations in a particular area of specialization.
  • Nurse Generalist – Has a bachelors degree of Science in Nursing and works with the nurse specialist to direct care of patients.
  • Associate Nurse – Has an associates degree in nursing and collaborates with planning and carrying out of direct nursing care to hospitalized patients.

Various additional roles have been suggested to clarify the advanced nursing practice role through legislation including (Parés Arroyo, 2015, April 4):

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Provides autonomous practice with the ability to provide services and be reimbursed through contracting with other agencies for their area of specialty.
  • Advanced Practice Nurse – Includes various specialist including: Clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwifery, anesthesia, nurse practitioners and other areas.

Have information to update this page?

Parés Arroyo, M. (2015, April 4). Se especializan cada vez más las enfermeras: Un proyecto de ley propone atemperar los adelantos de esta profesión.  El Nuevo Dia.  Retrieved from: