Want to become a nurse? This is what you need to know

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
What you need to know to become a nurse.
What you need to know to become a nurse.
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images


Nursing is a science and an art – it requires both theory and practical work in the different settings like clinics, community health centres, hospitals and hospices.

In South Africa, the profession is regulated by the SA Nursing Council (SANC) – you have to be registered with SANC to practise nursing.

You must be admitted to a nursing education institution, public or private, that is accredited by SANC and the programmes must be accredited by SANC and the Council on Higher Education. See sanc.co.za

It’s an advantage to have life sciences and/or biology, English, maths lit or maths and computer skills.

There are three entry level undergraduate programmes to nursing:

A higher certificate in nursing – one year, on completion you qualify as an auxiliary nurse

A diploma in nursing – three years to qualify as a general nurse.

Bachelor of nursing – four years to qualify as a professional nurse and midwife.

Can also do postgraduate diplomas in specialised areas, like childcare or critical care.


Communication, interpersonal skills, empathy, patience, honesty, sympathy and compassion. The value of a nurse is their ability to show respect for human life and dignity, social justice and integrity and a total commitment to patients and other healthcare users.


Preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative health throughout a lifespan, from birth to death. You will be dealing with conditions and cases including trauma, maternity, paediatrics, gynaecology, surgical and many other medical conditions.


Excellent. Nurses will always be needed and there is a shortage of nurses in this country. This is also the case around the world.


Expect to work in shifts, long hours, including night duty.


Working closely with other professions like doctors and physios, as well as patients.


The average salary for a Registered Nurse (RN) in South Africa is R238,101.

Sources: sanc.co.za, payscale.com

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24