Workers belonging to the professional nursing group are regulated by two different regimes:

Although distinction has legal and practical relevance, since these two regimes coexist in many cases in the same health service or establishment, especially in the entrepreneurial public sector (EPE), professional qualification requirements and professional progression and technical and scientific differentiation are the same.

In terms of career structure, nurses are recruited into the category of nurses and, if they cumulatively hold the title of specialist nurse assigned by the Portuguese Nursing Society and a minimum of five years of practice. In case those requirements are met, nurses may apply for a recruitment procedure for the category of Principal Nurse.

Regarding professional qualification, the Portuguese Nurses Society is responsible for issuing professional titles.