A qualified nurse is just as important a health care professional as a qualified doctor may be when it comes to the internal operations of a standard hospital. But what are the nursing requirements if you want to be a nurse?
They require a qualification from a registered nursing college to develop important skills and knowledge, as well as years of education and training in their field.
Nursing is an in-demand career, especially in South Africa's public hospitals which are often faced with a critical nursing shortage. However, it takes a certain type of person to really excel in this career, and there are many aspects to consider before making the leap.
If you desire the opportunity to put selfishness aside and prioritise selflessness in health care for others, then nursing may be an apt career opportunity for you if you are happy to meet the requirements for nursing.
Types Of Nursing Qualifications Available
Nevertheless, there are a number of requirements to undergo before one can become a qualified nurse. To start, there are three types of nursing qualifications to be pursued, which include:
A Senior Certificate in Nursing
A Diploma in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing
(There is also a Baccalaureus Curationis (BCur) degree that is offered as an alternative).
Requirements For Nursing Courses
To be accepted into a nursing programme, there are a number of requirements you will need to meet. Nursing requirements and the programme length will vary depending on the programme and higher education institution you are applying to.
Higher Certificate in Auxiliary Nursing (1 year):
Students must have acquired their National Senior Certificate (NSC) at the end of their matric academic year with an overall NSC score of 16 points including at least 40% in English or home language and at least 50% for Life Science or Biology. This is the shortest available nursing programme as it is only a one year higher certificate.
Advanced/Diploma in Nursing (3 years): (Diploma in Nursing Requirements)
These are the 3 year diploma nursing program requirements : Students must acquire at least a matric education standard and have passed Mathematics, English, a First/Home Language, Life Orientation and Life Science. Finally, the student must enrol as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (4 years):
Student must acquire at least a matric education standard and have passed Mathematics, English, a First/Home Language, Life Orientation and Life Science. Finally, similarly to the Diploma enrolment requirements, the student must enrol as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.
How Many Years To Study Nursing Courses?
It can take anything from 1 year to 3 years depending on which course you decide to study. You are also able to undertake further study to specialise and this will add further years of study.
School Subject Requirements
What subjets do you need to become a nurse in South Africa? Many have often asked why Life Sciences and Maths are necessary to study Nursing. These subjects are necessary because nursing itself is seen as a science and two of the most important subjects are anatomy and physiology – that is the structure and functioning of the human body and how the parts work as well as what happens if the parts are diseased.
The Department of Health has said, "These topics are covered in Biology, Maths and Life Sciences and students are able to understand nursing much better if they have the background. It has been found that students without these subjects struggle to understand much that is covered in nursing. Nurses are also required to do calculations."
Where To Study Nursing in South Africa
Many nursing students in South Africa will be able to have their course covered by a nursing bursary provided by the Department of Health. There are several nursing colleges in South Africa that offer a range of nursing qualifications. These include Ga Rankuwa Nursing College, Worchester Nursing School, Netcare Education and many others.
Nurses make up half of the health care workers in South Africa. To help increase the number of nurses, several private colleges and higher education institutions offer nursing courses.
Most of the public universities in South Africa offer a nursing degree. This includes North West University, The University of the Western Cape, The University of Cape Town and many others. You can also complete a nursing programme through a hospital.
You can also study a nursing programme through Unisa. They offer a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing Science qualification.
You will need to meet the admission requirements when applying to study a nursing course. These minimum requirements will vary from institution to institution, so it is best to check the requirements of that specific college or university before applying.
What Does A Career As A Nurse Entail?
No matter how the world changes there will always be a need for nurses and there are plenty of nursing jobs available. Studying to become a nurse will include classroom work and clinical experience. There are different nurse types that work in a hospital.
The different nursing types are determined by experience level and qualifications. Not all nurses work in hospitals as some nurses could end up working for big corporations or sports clubs. As a nurse, you can also work at a public hospital, private hospital and even at a school.
Once you get your nursing qualification, you will then need to do a year of mandatory community service as well as register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC) which involves completing an examination.
What Is A Nursing Salary Like?
If you've ever wondered how much nurses earn in South Africa, it's good to remember that not all nursing salaries are the same, it depends on which position you occupy, what level you're at and what your qualifications are as a nurse.
Your level of experience and how long you've been a practising nurse can also have an influence on how much money you earn. The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally, the more years of nursing experience, the higher your wage.
Types Of Nurses
A nursing qualification can offer a range of career opportunities.
There are three types of nurses: Registered Nurses or Nursing Sisters who supervise other nurses and carry out nurse duties (often referred to as a general nurse), Enrolled Nurses who perform limited nursing care and Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries who perform basic procedures and care for patients.
It takes a certain type of individual to succeed as a nurse in the health care industry. Nursing can be incredibly draining due to the long hours and difficult patients you may encounter, however, it can also be extremely rewarding.
Nurses play an extremely important role in the functioning of our health care industry. If you have a passion for caring for patients, improving their lives and making them comfortable, then perhaps a career as a nurse is perfect for you.
Head to our Where to Study: Nursing section to find a full list of places to study nursing courses.