Requirements To Study Nursing In South Africa 2022-2023

By | April 4, 2022

Requirements To Study Nursing In South Africa 2022-2023

Nursing is an important profession. As frontline health workers, emergency health care personnel, and professional caregivers, they are necessary to the healthcare delivery system of any society. Nurses deserve the respect and appreciation that they receive, and also the financial security that comes with their profession.

In South Africa, there are different cadres of nurses. These cadres are arranged by the length and depth of the training they passed through before joining the healthcare system. The steps that one must take in order to qualify as a nurse depend on what cadre he wishes to join.

The following paragraphs contain information about the various Nursing Programs and their requirements.

Requirements to study Nursing in South Africa

Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing

The Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing program is a one-year program. In this course, you will be trained on all the rudiments of patient care. After the one-year course, you may seek employment in any healthcare delivery facility where you will be assigned to work under a Registered Nurse who has a Diploma or a Degree. Auxiliary Nurses are important members of the healthcare community, they spend a lot of time with patients, giving reports to Registered Nurses and Doctors, who may sometimes be spread too thin.

Requirements for Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing Program: 

  • National Senior Certificate pass (certified)
  • English or home language at least 40% (NSC level 3) as a home language or first additional language.
  • Life Science/ Biology 50% or more (NSC level 5)
  • An overall NSC score of at least 16 points.

Diploma in Nursing

The Diploma in Nursing program is a three-year program. This program equips you with the knowledge and ability to work as a Staff Nurse. Staff Nurses are essential members of any medical team, they are involved in every aspect of healthcare delivery. The major difference between Diploma in Nursing holders and their Bachelor’s degree counterparts is that the latter spend 4 years in training.

The Requirements to study for a Diploma in Nursing are:

  • Grade 12 (Standard 10) or equivalent.
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • First or Home Language
  • Life Orientation
  • Life Science
  • You must enroll as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Sciences

The Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Sciences program takes four years to complete. This program is very broad and deep, and so gives students in-depth knowledge of patient care. The degree empowers you to work as a psychiatry nurse, midwife, general nurse practitioner, and so on. With this degree, your title should be Registered Nurse. You will be able to handle the theoretical and practical sides of nursing, and handle important responsibilities within the healthcare facility.

  • Requirements for Bachelor’s Degree In Nursing Sc.:
  • Grade 12 (Standard 10) or equivalent.
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • First or Home Language
  • Life Orientation
  • Life Science
  • You must enroll as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.

Advanced Diploma in Nursing

The Advanced Diploma in Nursing program takes one year and gives you advanced training in all aspects of patient care. The focus of this program is to equip you with further knowledge that you need to play a leading role in your work environment. With this qualification, you are set for a career in nursing management.

Requirements for this course are: you must already possess a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or at least a Diploma in Nursing. You must have two years of hands-on experience as a nurse or a midwife, and show considerable confidence in carrying out your duties.

You also need the usual requirements for anyone intending to study for a Diploma or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing:

  • Grade 12 (Standard 10) or equivalent.
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • First or Home Language
  • Life Orientation
  • Life Science
  • You must enrol as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.

Step By Step Overview

Regardless of what cadre of nurses one aspires to become, all South African nurses must first be educated at a nursing school. Most times this is organized by a University, but situated at a training hospital or facility.  After completing their studies, new nurses must first complete a year of community service before entering the workforce. So as an intending nurse where do you start?

Get good high school grades. A good place to start is to do well in your NSC exams. Important subjects to conquer are Mathematics, English, First or Home Language, Life Orientation, and Life Sciences.

The next is step is to determine the program that will take you into that cadre of nursing that you desire to enter. There are several such nursing programs:

  • Senior Certificate in Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Some Universities alternatively offer undergraduate degrees called Baccalaureus Curationis or the BCur degree.

In Some cases some students decide to study further, thus gaining post-graduate degrees like a Masters’s degree in psychiatric nursing, general nursing, and midwifery. Some students even decide to obtain a PhD in Nursing or the Doctor Curationis degree, which is also known as DCur.

A well-accepted alternative is to study for an Advanced Diploma in Nursing certificate which one can obtain after working for at least 2 years as a Registered Nurse. This certificate helps you gain more responsibilities within the work environment.

After determining which program is suitable for you, you apply to a University to study.  The chosen program will likely depend on where the nursing school is located, and the proximity to your present location.

To obtain an application form, contact your preferred school via email or in person, or visit the school website, select the program, and then apply.

Register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC or Council). Please note that this registration must be done before ever you begin attending classes for any nursing program of your choice. In other countries, you only apply to the nursing council upon completion of the nursing program, but in South Africa, the opposite is the case; the Council wants to know about you ever before you start.

Once accepted into the program, you make sure to participate in all the courses under the program, and finish the nursing program.  After the completion of the program, the nursing school will send a Certificate of Completion to the South African Nursing Council. The certificate formally informs the Council that you have completed the training course.

Take the South African Nursing Council administered nursing exam that is designed for the specific qualification you seek. There are exams for nursing auxiliary applicants, Diploma in Nursing applicants, Bachelor of Science in Nursing applicants, Midwives and Psychiatric nurses, and so on.

You will receive directions, although the exam schedule can also be found on the South African Nursing Council’s website.

You must then complete one year of community service as required by South African law. After graduation, all new nurses must apply for placement during the community service year. A good thing about this community service is that you will gain the necessary hands-on training at clinics and hospitals.

After this, you may apply to any hospital, clinic, or health facility of your choice, including the armed forces where your skills are greatly needed.

Conclusion:

Foreign students who have completed their nursing programs are usually not registered with the Council. They must return to their country of origin in order to register with their home council of nurses. If the foreign student would like to work in South Africa, they must first register as nurses in their home country and then follow the normal immigration protocols to obtain a work visa to return to South Africa. This will usually be expedited quickly due to their familiarity with the nursing environment in South Africa.