As a fundamental part of the health sector, nursing is a fulfilling and lucrative career. Regardless of whether you see yourself working in a challenging environment like a hospital, or a more community-oriented job like a private care facility for the elderly, there’s so much you can accomplish in the field to make it suit your ambitions.
That variety allows those who want to pursue a career in the field to have a lifetime of opportunities await them both in South Africa and abroad. But considering that the job can be demanding, it is not surprising that the requirements to enter the field are stringent.
Understanding The Different Nursing Ranks
Nursing in South Africa is the fastest-growing profession, nursing is in demand, so you will always have a job.
But, before you can dive into what you should be studying to become a nurse, take the time to understand the different nursing ranks in South Africa. These ranks will determine the kind of career you pursue and the job opportunities you’ll receive, so you should familiarize yourself with them.
An enrolled nurse can perform limited nursing care.
Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries
Auxiliaries can perform minor procedures and general nursing care.
Registered Nurses or Nursing Sisters
Nursing sisters and Registered nurses oversee auxiliaries and enrolled nurses and are responsible for all other nursing responsibilities based on their field of study.
What are the Requirements to Study Nursing in South Africa (Nursing Requirements)?
Several requirements are necessary to study nursing in South Africa. These requirements will be determined by what type of nursing you decide to study and the learning institution you select. However, in most instances, there are standard requirements you should meet.
Since qualifications are paramount to the type of career you pursue as a nurse, this list reveals the requirements for each qualification which should help you narrow your selection.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science (BCur)
A bachelor’s degree in nursing means you can pursue a career in general nursing, Oncology and palliative nursing, psychiatric nursing, research, midwifery, nursing education, child nursing, intensive care nursing, trauma and emergency nursing, and nephrology nursing.
As part of your studies, you must complete compulsory practical clinical training supported by in-depth theoretical studies. The practical component entails completing the kind of work you would do as a nurse, with the theoretical parts including learning the theory of what it means to be a nurse.
The program will also require you to study medicine, psychology, pharmacology, natural sciences, and social sciences.
To pursue the degree, you’ll need to meet some minimum requirements.
National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification
Pass English, Home language or first additional language, maths literacy, life orientation, and life sciences with between 50% to 59%, depending on the institution
Note: Taking subjects like Mathematics, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences are encouraged but not compulsory.
Diploma in Nursing
You can receive a nursing diploma from a university of technology, like DUT, CPUT, VUT, and TUT. You can also obtain a diploma through accredited private institutions.
The course for a diploma in nursing is typically between two and three years long and will see you complete practical and theoretical studies. However, the coursework isn’t as in-depth as the Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
Despite this, many of the requirements to get a Diploma in Nursing will be similar to receiving a BCur.
You need to have a National Senior Certificate or a similar qualification like an NQF Level 4. You will also need to pass the following subjects:
- English (with a minimum of between 40-59%)
- Home language or first additional language (with a minimum of between 40-59%), and
- Life Orientation (minimum grades of between 40-59%)
- You will also need to pass four other subjects, with between 50 and 59%, depending on the institution you choose to study at.
Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing
A much quicker course, getting a Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing, usually requires only one year of full-time study.
The course covers fundamental nursing care with instruction led by a nurse with a diploma or degree.
After completing the course, you will know how to properly care for patients by assisting either the Registered Nurse or medical doctor; you can register as an enrolled nursing auxiliary and can pursue a career practising as a nursing auxiliary or nursing assistant. You can also have a career as a home care nurse where a registered nurse is not needed.
To get a Higher certificate as a nursing auxiliary, you will need a National Senior Certificate or an NQF level 4, with a 40% minimum passing grade in the following subjects:
- Maths or maths literacy, and
- Life sciences
You may also access the program if you have a health-related qualification at NQF level 3, like studying as an Auxiliary Nurse or an NQF level 4 as an Enrolled nurse.
How Much Do Nurses Earn?
Besides being a rewarding career, being a nurse can also be lucrative.
As a nurse, you can earn between R12,000 and R30,000 a month, a figure that will depend on the rank you have.
Enrolled nurses and enrolled auxiliary nurses usually earn on the lower end of the spectrum. However, your income will also depend on your experience.
How Much Does It Cost to Study Nursing?
The cost of studying nursing in South Africa depends on the qualifications you pursue.
A Bachelor’s degree in nursing can cost upwards of R50 000 per year, whereas a diploma can range from R20 000 a year. A higher certificate in nursing can cost approximately R50 000 for one year of study at a private college but can be cheaper at public colleges.
Where Can I Study Nursing in South Africa?
The price per course is not set in stone. Some programs will require you to pay more, others less. But to ensure you don’t fall victim to fake colleges 一 offering fake qualifications because of their low cost per cause, visit the list of accredited nursing schools and colleges at the South African Nursing Councils Website.
If you see yourself working in the healthcare profession as a nurse, choosing the right qualification and learning institution is the first step. You can then work to achieve the institution’s minimum requirements for the qualification you’ve chosen. That way, when it is time to apply, you are sure you meet the basic criteria for entry.