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Nurse

Nurses are essential healthcare workers and without them, clinics and hospitals would not be able to function. They provide essential care for patients by assisting doctors and other medical professionals.

In South Africa, there are many different types of nursing careers to choose from and you can continue to specialise and study further during the course of your career. Some types of nursing careers require studying for a degree while others require shorter studies. Some examples include:

 

  • Nurse midwife – Nurse midwives are registered nurses who specialise in assisting expectant parents with reproductive health and childbirth. Specific duties and responsibilities of a nurse midwife may vary but they typically include relaying critical medical information to patients and their family members, providing patients with basic antenatal and postpartum care, recording, reviewing and assessing patients’ medical histories and coordinating referrals as needed among others.

 

  • Paediatric nurse – Paediatric nurses are nurses who specialise in providing care for children from birth to their late teenage years. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary per organisation, but primary tasks may include but not limited to documenting and maintaining patients’ medical histories, administering vaccines, providing medications, serving as a liaison between patients and key hospital staff, and ensuring compliance with applicable health and safety protocols are followed when attending to the patient.

 

  • Neonatal ICU nurse –Neonatal ICU nurses are nurses who specialise in providing nursing care to infants in the intensive care unit. Duties and responsibilities vary per organisation but may include ensuring all applicable health and safety protocols are followed when attending to the newborn and their mother, monitoring the newborn patient’s vital signs, briefing the parents on how to take care of their newborn baby, carrying out tests requested by the attending physician, and assisting with performing life-saving procedures when necessary.

 

  • Nephrologist nurse –Nephrologist nurses, also called renal nurses, are nurses who specialise in providing nursing care to patients with kidney disease. Duties and responsibilities vary per organisation but may include assisting patients during dialysis sessions, ensuring all applicable health and safety protocols are followed before, during, and after the procedure, managing and maintaining relevant medical equipment, and maintaining and managing patients’ medical records among other things.

 

  • Oncology nurse – Oncology nurses are nurses who specialise in providing nursing care to patients with cancer. Duties and responsibilities vary per organisation but may include ensuring all applicable health and safety protocols are followed before, during, and after chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, managing patients’ medical records, providing patients and their loved ones with medical information crucial to the patient’s treatment, administering applicable medications, acting as a liaison between patients and key hospital staff, etc.

 

  • Critical care nurse – Critical nurses are nurses who specialise in providing nursing care to patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Duties and responsibilities vary per organisation but may include ensuring all applicable health and safety protocols designed to prevent infections are followed, managing patients’ medical records, supervising the use of specialised medical equipment, providing patients and their loved ones with medical information crucial to the patient’s treatment, administering applicable medications in accordance to protocols, acting as a liaison between patients and key hospital staff, etc.

 

 

  • Auxillary nurses – Auxillary nurses are nurses who assist registered nurses. Exact duties and responsibilities vary per organisation, but they typically include providing patients with critical medical information relevant to their condition, managing and maintaining patients’ medical records, ensuring all health and safety protocols are followed when providing nursing care to patients, monitoring patients’ vital signs, and liaising between the patient and key hospital staff.

 

  • Home care nurses – Home care nurses are nurses who provide nursing care in a residential setting. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but they typically include assisting patients with physical or mental impairments with taking meals and medications, taking care of personal hygiene, and getting exercise. They may also be expected to perform basic medical tests to monitor their patients’ condition as well as report their progress or condition to their physician.

 

  • Traveling nurses – Travel nurses are registered nurses who work in a temporary nursing role, traveling to neighboring or distant places, usually to fill in staff shortages due to a number of factors. This may include unplanned or planned leave of absences from hospital staff and an unexpected increase in patient admissions. Travel nurses’ duties may be assigned to a whole range of different hospital departments, but they can typically be found working in Intensive Care Units, Emergency Rooms, and Operating rooms.

 

  • Occupational Health Nurses – Occupational health nurses are nurses who specialise in providing health and safety programmes and services to workers in their place of employment.Duties and responsibilities may vary per organization but they are typically involved in the assessment of work-related risk and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of workplace illnesses and injuries. They also work to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety and other relevant regulations.

 

  • Veterinary Nurses – Veterinary nurses are nurses who assist veterinarians in providing medical care to animals. Duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to ensuring that health and safety protocols are followed in the veterinary hospital or clinic to minimise the risk of cross-infection among patients, assisting the veterinarian with the identification of animal diseases or harmful behaviour by animals, ensuring patients are properly secured to prevent injury to the animal, their owners, or veterinary staff, the administration of prescribed medications to patients, and the performance of radiographic or other relevant diagnostic tests requested by the veterinarian.

How to be a Nurse in South Africa

 

Get the Required Qualifications

The required qualifications to be a nurse in South Africa can vary depending on the specific career path you wish to take; however, you will normally be expected to have the following:

  1. Certificate (National Senior Certificate s issued by UMALUSI, with the relevant subject combination; or an equivalent international qualification that allows access to study towards a Diploma qualification)
  2. Certificate (Higher Certificate in Nursing; 1-Year Study) On completion, you register with the SANC as a Nursing Auxiliary.
  3. Diploma (Diploma in Nursing; 3 Years) On completion, you register with the South African Nursing Council as a General Nurse.
  4. Bachelor’s Degree (Bachelor of Nursing 4-Year programme at a university. On completion, you register with the SANC as a Professional Nurse and Midwife.

Entry requirements may differ between the institutions. Here is a list of accredited educational institutions offering  the Higher Certificate and Diplomas in nursing qualifications from the South African nursing council.

Demonstrate Competence in the Required Subjects

Different educational institutions may have different admission requirements; however, you will typically be required to demonstrate competency in the following subjects:

Accumulate Years of Relevant Study and Experience

Nurses in South Africa typically study between3-4 years.

Find Relevant Employment Opportunities

Nursing is an in-demand job in South Africa and nurses often work in the following places:

  • Public and private hospitals and clinics
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Pharmacies
  • Government institutions
  • Research laboratories
  • Nursing homes and private home care

Find More Information from Relevant Regulatory Bodies

To find more information about nurses in South Africa, contact the South African Nursing Council.

 

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