The Nursing School of Coimbra is the result of the merging process of the Nursing School of Higher Education Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca and the Nursing School of Higher Education Bissaya Barreto, established by Decree-Law (4) No. 175/2004, 21st July (Official Portuguese Journal No. 170-I Series A).

The Nursing School of Higher Education Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca was founded in 1881 by Professor Augusto da Costa Simões, a physician and the administrator of the Hospitals of the University of Coimbra. At that time private and known as Coimbra Nurses School, it started to function on 17th October of that year, with the main goal of specialising nursing personnel to render services in those hospitals. In May 1919 it was converted into an Official School, changing its denomination to Nursing School of the University of Coimbra Hospitals. On 8th January 1931 it became known as the Nursing School Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca by Ministerial Order 7001, 8th January 1931. On 19th July 1982 its denomination changed to Post-Elementary Nursing School Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca by Governmental Decree No. 28/87, 31st July. As a consequence of the integration of nursing instruction into Higher Education, this institution adopted the nomenclature Nursing School[of H.E.] Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca by Ministerial Order No. 821/89, 15th September (Official Portuguese Journal, I Series B, 10th January, Normative Order No. 3/2004).

The Nursing School of Higher Education Bissaya Barreto (ESEBB), up until then known as Nursing School Bissaya Barreto, was established by Ministerial Order No. 231/71 3rd May, as an official service of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, endowed with technical and administrative autonomy to function in conjunction with the Hospital Centre of Coimbra, in order to satisfy its needs for nursing personnel, regarding both non-specialised nurses and specialised ones. On 30th June that very year the Official Portuguese Journal (II Series, No. 152) , published the composition of the installing commission, responsible for the delicate task of giving life to a project that had only existed in writing until then, having as president its founder Professor Fernando Baeta Bissaya Barreto Rosa. Delmina dos Anjos Moreira and José Pinto Teles, both nurses, were also part of this commission. The conversion of the School into Nursing School was established by Ministerial Order No. 821/89, 15th September. In the past the School was under the responsibility of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health (Decree-Law No. 480/33, 23rd September). Since 1st January 2001, it has exclusively been under the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, currently the Ministry of Education and Science.

In order to complete the merging process of both Schools, a coordination commission was founded. This commission started its work on 27th October 2004 and, being aware of the complexity of the whole process, intended to involve the whole school community in different kinds of initiatives. To this end it organised several work groups and promoted the participation of the staff from both Schools through programmed debates, so as to elaborate a proposal for Mission, Vision and Forms of Organisation of the New School, as well as the Project of Statutes of the Nursing School of Coimbra. This project was ratified by the Statutory Commission, which started to work on 19th December 2005. The first Statutes of the Nursing School of Coimbra were homologated by Legislative Order No. 20/2006, 17th March, as published in the Official Portuguese Journal No. 55, I Series B.

Afterwards, the Statutory Assembly approved the insignia and the coat of arms of the Nursing School of Coimbra (on March 28th, 2006), and it was published by the Joint Order No. 421/2006, 21st May (Official Portuguese Journal No. 101, II Series).

Later on, in accordance with Law No. 62/2007, 10th September (Legal Framework of the Higher Education Institutions), the Nursing School of Coimbra reviewed its Statutes, homologated by Legislative Order No. 50/2008 (9th September) and published in the Official Portuguese Journal (24th September, 2008).