Puerto Rico is a self-governing unincorporated United States territory located in the northern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. San Juan, one of the oldest cities in the northern hemisphere, is the main hub for the islands, with an airport, old fort, great food and stunning Caribbean architecture. But, to show the appeal of this island to many who venture beyond city boundaries, a rain forest is maintained within an hour of the city. Nurses who wish to study and work here will find limited opportunities, but those possibilities are growing rapidly, both on the island and in the U.S.

Becoming a Nurse in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico provides only two AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) member schools, which are Turabo University in Gurabo and the Universidad de Puerto Rico, with campuses in San Juan and Mayaguez. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. lists the Colegio Universitario de San Juan, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico in Ponce, Universidad Adventista de Las Antillas in Mayaguez, Ryder Memorial Hospital, Inc. and at least seven other teaching facilities as accredited for nursing programs. The Inter American University of Puerto Rico is the largest private institution on the island and in all of the Caribbean. In 1944 it became the first institution to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. They offer nursing programs with specialties in anesthesia and acute care. Most of these programs are situated in San Juan and other cities and towns throughout Puerto Rico.

Nursing Jobs in Puerto Rico

Some top-tier health care employers in Puerto Rico include Sistema de Saluc Metropolitano (SSM), under the name of Metropolitan Health Community Services, which operates eight hospitals in Puerto Rico under the Metropolitano and Pavia Health Management names plus ten satellite clinics, pharmacies, labs and a radiation oncology center. SSM expanded beyond Puerto Rico to acquire a 150-bed hospital in Miami in 2006, and they plan to expand further into U.S. Puerto Rican neighborhoods, such as the one in Orlando. Outside the SSM system, Hospital Auxilio Mutuo is Puerto Rico’s largest medical center with over 400 beds and acute medical/surgical capabilities. Nursing salaries in Puerto Rico are comparable with salaries on the mainland. For instance, the LPN who chooses to work here can earn between $31,000 and $53,000 per year, and the RN can earn between $50,000 and $111,000 per year. The RN travel nurse who is based in San Juan can earn, on average, $106,000 per year.