Different levels of Nursing In South Africa

There are three main types of nurses in South Africa:

  • Registered Nurses or Nursing Sisters 

They are responsible for the supervision of enrolled and enrolled auxiliary nurses as well as typical nursing responsibilities.

  • Enrolled Nurses 

They perform limited nursing care.

  • Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries

They perform basic procedures and care for patients on a general level.

According to the South African Nursing Council Statistics, the nursing industry in South Africa is growing. Fast. In the last 10 years, there has been a 35% increase in registered nurses (across all three categories) — that is over 74 000 new nurses registered in South Africa since 2008. Registered nurses have seen an increase of 31%, while enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries have seen increases of 71% and 15% respectively.

As a nurse, you’re likely to always have a job. According to the South African Health Review 2017, nurses make up the largest single number of healthcare professionals in South Africa.

And if you don’t love the idea of working in a hospital, don’t worry, your options don’t end there. As a nurse, you can work in schools, universities, out-patient clinics and pharmacies, government institutions, nursing homes, research labs and many other settings.

Nursing can also be a financially-attractive job, earning between R12 500 and R25 000 a month.

Starting to see the appeal? Carry on reading to find out how to get there.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Nurse?

To qualify as a nurse, you can do one of the following:

  • a four-year bachelor degree in nursing (BCur– Bachelor of Nursing Science, Education & Administration)
  • a three-year diploma
  • a one-year higher certificate in auxiliary nursing 
  • one-year postgraduate advanced diploma in nursing and midwifery on top of your degree or diploma.

After you get your qualification, you have to register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). 

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You can choose to complete your qualification at a public tertiary institution or at a private nursing college. These private colleges, such as Mediclinic, Netcare Education or Life College, offer the same diplomas or degrees as the universities and universities of technology.

Bachelor Degree in Nursing Science (BCur)

The bachelor’s degree in nursing is generally a four-year-long course that is offered by most public universities in South Africa: UCT, Wits, Stellies (only postgrad), UP, UWC, NWU, UKZN, UNISA, etc. The degree consists of both a compulsory practical clinical training component and a theoretical component. Once you have completed a BCur (or equivalent), you are able to register as a professional nurse and midwife with the SANC.

Entry Requirements

It is recommended that you take Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences, but this is not compulsory at all institutions. You will need a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification at exit level 4, with:

  • English (50-59%)
  • First additional or home language (50-59%)
  • Life Sciences (50-59%)
  • Maths Literacy (50-59%)
  • Life Orientation (50-59%)

What does the course look like? 

The BCur usually prepares students to work in four specific fields:

  • general nursing (working in hospitals and medical practices)
  • community nursing
  • psychiatric nursing
  • midwifery (caring for mothers and babies)

Your course will have a practical component. You will learn how to do the kind of practical work you will need to be able to do when you become a nurse. In the theoretical component, you will learn the theory of what it is to be a nurse and you will study medical, biological and natural sciences, psychological and social sciences, and pharmacology so that you have the knowledge you need to be a competent and successful healthcare professional.

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