Why Are Nurses Needed in South Africa?

Since South Africa has been hit by the pandemic there has been a need for more healthcare workers, so why does the country need nurses? Keep reading to find out. 


The Covid-19 pandemic has placed an immense amount of pressure on the South African healthcare system and has highlighted the important role which healthcare workers play in the country. The country has now seen an increased need for nurses as this is an essential occupation in both public and private medical facilities. 

Nurses ensure that all medical facilities run more efficiently and better quality care is provided. This career field is currently in high demand in the country, as hospitals are placed under pressure due to rising Covid-19 cases. Nurses are individuals who are dedicated to learning, are very caring and patient and they possess a thick skin as they often have to deal with patients who are difficult to tolerate. They assist in surgical operations and attend to patients timeously, which prevents doctors in hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. 

If you are interested in pursuing a career in nursing, you need to be passionate about people and have a desire to nurse those who are sick back to better health. 

If you're passionate and meet the soft skill requirements then all you have to do is choose the right subjects in high school and complete post-matric qualifications to become a nurse. 

You need to pass matric with more than 50% in subjects such as life sciences (biology), English, maths (pure or literacy) and life orientation in order to apply for an entry-level nursing course. 

Once you have gotten your qualification then you must register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). 

According to Fundi Connect, to qualify as a nurse there are four options which you can pursue: 

  • A four year bachelor degree in nursing;
  • 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.

Bachelor degree in nursing sciences (BCur)

There is a compulsory practical clinical training component and a theoretical component in this degree. The practical component prepares you for when you become a nurse, whereas the theory component informs you of what it is to be a nurse as well as studies in medical, biological and natural sciences, psychological and social sciences, and pharmacology. This medical knowledge is vital. Once this degree or an equivalent has been completed then you can register with SANC. The BCur prepares you in the following fields:

  • General nursing (working in hospitals and medical practices);
  • Community nursing;
  • Psychiatric nursing; and
  • Midwifery (caring for mothers and babies).

Diploma in nursing

This is a three-year course which consists of practical and theoretical work. Once you have completed this diploma you are able to work as a registered staff nurse or enrolled nurse and while you complete the course you will cover work similar to what you would in the BCur degree. This course is however shorter than the BCur and you will learn how to provide nursing care, apply your knowledge in the nursing practice, diagnose and treat minor illnesses and provide reproductive health care.

Higher certificate in auxiliary nursing

This is a one-year qualification that is aimed at equipping you with the skills needed to provide basic nursing care to individuals while working under the supervision of a nurse who has a ational diploma or degree. Once you have completed your higher certificate you will be able to register as an enrolled nursing auxiliary. 

This course will teach you how to apply your knowledge of the theory, the practice of basic nursing and how to assess, plan, implement and evaluate basic nursing care for individuals and groups.

Postgraduate Advanced Diploma in nursing

Taking this course will help you to specilise as a nurse or midwife or accoucheur and it is designed to deepen and strengthen your knowledge in nursing and midwifery. It is a one year course and can only be completed after you have received your degree or diploma in nursing. 

It is mostly theoretical and the qualification will be helpful if you want to pursue a career in nursing management. This is the postgraduate course for an individual who has a diploma in nursing and will have to complete in order to work as a nursing sister in South African Hospitals.

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