South African Nursing Entry Requirements | How to become a Nurse in South Africa & Courses.
What does a career in nursing entail?
Nursing, as a profession, is based on scientific knowledge which is acquired during the four years of study at a nursing college.
This knowledge will equip nurses to help prevent disease, to educate people on health issues, enhance health, and support ill patients both physically and psychologically. As a dedicated health care professional, you will be required to treat every patient as an individual and consider all aspects of the patient e.g. their physical, psychological, and social well-being.
A nurse is an independent practitioner guided by nursing acts and ethical codes. Nursing is an extremely rewarding career as you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives on a daily basis.
After completion of the four-year basic nursing programme, an opportunity exists for qualified nurses to further their education in various specialties e.g. nursing education, nursing management, critical care nursing, trauma and emergency nursing, operating theater nursing, primary health care, orthopedic nursing, child nursing, etc.
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).
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.
How do I become a nurse in South Africa?
To become a certified nurse, you have to go through two steps: you must get a qualification from an accredited school and then register with SANC.
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)
What subjects are needed to become a nurse in South Africa?
For diploma and degree courses, the primary subject requirements to study nursing in South Africa include the following:
- Life Science
- Life Orientation
- First or home language