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How to Become a Nurse in South Africa

Updated March 23, 2017

Nursing is one of the world's most important professions. In South Africa, there are many types of nurses, including nurse auxiliaries, midwives and even psychiatric nurses. As such, there are different types of nursing degrees. Regardless of what sort of nurse one wants to become, all South African nurses must first be educated at a nursing school, which can be a part of a training hospital or a university. After completing their studies, new nurses must first complete a year of community service before entering the work force.

Determine the type of program you wish to take, as there are various nursing programs. Some offer undergraduate degrees called Baccalaureus Curationis or the BCur degree, while others allow students to gain a postgraduate nursing degree. An undergraduate degree can be completed within four to five years. Nurses with an undergraduate degree in nursing sciences can gain a Masters degree in psychiatric nursing, general nursing and midwifery. Some can also obtain a PhD in Nursing or the Doctor Curationis degree, which is also known as DCur.

Apply to the nurse training program of your choice. The chosen program will likely depend on where the nursing school is located, what courses are offered and whether an undergraduate or postgraduate nursing degree is sought. To obtain an application form, contact your preferred school via e-mail or in person to collect a form. Some schools provide application forms on line.

Register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC or Council) and complete the selected courses of study. Once accepted into the program, all nursing students must register with the SANC, attend classes and finish the nursing program. After graduation, the nursing school will send a Certificate of Completion to the SANC. The certificate formally informs the Council that a registered student completed the training course. Foreign students, however, will not be registered with the Council. They must instead return to their country of origin or official residence and register as nurses there. If the foreign student would like to work in South Africa, they must first register in their home country and then follow immigration protocols to obtain a work visa to return to South Africa.

Take the SANC-administered nursing exam that fits with the specific qualification you seek. There are exams for nursing auxiliary applicants, midwives and psychiatric nurses. To view the exam schedule, visit the SANC's website.

Complete one year of community service as required by South African law. After graduation, all new nurses must apply for placement during the mandatory community service year. During the service year, the nurse will gain necessary hands-on training at clinics and hospitals. The application is available for download at the South African Nursing Council's website.

Tip

To find an accredited nursing school, simply visit the South African Nursing Council's website at www.sanc.co.za.

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About the Author

Sydelle John is a lawyer who started writing professionally in 2007. She has written for the Guardian's Comment is Free and Pambazuka News, which focuses on pan-African issues. John has a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vassar College.