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How Many Years Do You Study For Nursing?


How Many Years Do You Study For Nursing?

Nursing stands as one of the most impactful professions globally, particularly in light of the ongoing global pandemic. Furthermore, nurses play a pivotal and expansive role, primarily dedicated to delivering compassionate and high-quality healthcare services to their patients.

These healthcare professionals operate in various sectors of healthcare settings, including emergency services, surgical units, and care facilities for the elderly.

Is nursing a good career?

Yes nursing is a good career choice. Nurses have the responsibility of making a difference in the lives of others by providing an invaluable service to all those who are ill, vulnerable or in dire need of health care support.  They keep the health sector functional and are at the forefront of change in healthcare and public health.

How to become a nurse in South Africa?

If you are passionate about helping and caring for the lives of people, you need to have a thorough understanding of the requirements and training needed to become a certified nurse. In order to become a certified nurse, students first need to obtain a formal qualification.

Once completing the degree, students need to register with the South African Nursing Council (SANC) which is a national board that governs and maintains the standards of nursing education and practice in South Africa. The SANC approves all the courses of institutions and will not register any student without a formal qualification from an institution that is not recognised. For more information students can visit www.sanc.co.za

How many years to study nursing in South Africa?

Are you wondering how many years to study nursing in South Africa/ This is dependent on the level of qualification that you choose to complete. Here are a list of programs that are available to student that want to pursue a career in nursing:

Higher certificate in auxiliary nursing

Students completing this course will learn all the basics of care-giving. Once completing this 1 year course, you will work alongside a registered nurse that has completed their degree or diploma qualification.

Diploma in nursing

This qualification takes 3 years to be completed and students will be equipped to work as an enrolled nurse or staffing nurse. The only difference between completing a diploma versus a bachelor’s degree is the duration and less detailed information is provided to students.

Bachelor’s degree in nursing

This is a 4 year qualification and with this university degree, students will be able to work as a midwife, general, community or psychiatric nurse. Upon completing your degree in nursing, you will be formally equipped with all the theoretical and practical skills of nursing.

Post-graduate advanced diploma in nursing

Students that have completed their diploma/ degree will be required to complete a postgraduate programme if you want to pursue a career in nursing management. In order to qualify for this program, students must complete a bachelor’s degree or diploma in nursing. Students are also required to have at least 2 years of working experience as a midwife or nurse.

Nursing duties

  • Recording patients medical histories
  • Administering medication prescribed by doctors
  • Observing patients and recording their progress
  • Performing various medical tests to help analyse results
  • Consulting with doctors and pharmacists
  • Providing support to patients by educating them on how to manage their illness/injuries

How Long Does It Take To Study Nursing?

Kelsey Harper, a Professional Nurse and Midwife, eloquently recounts, “At the tender age of 17, I made the pivotal decision to pursue a career in nursing after shadowing a Professional Nurse for my grade 11 school project. Witnessing the impactful work this individual carried out in her community inspired me, as I envisioned myself becoming someone who could make a difference, uplift, and impact my own community. Growing up as the daughter of someone working in the healthcare system, my interest in healthcare was a natural fit, aligning my passion with community involvement.

Accepted at UWC, I commenced my five-year nursing degree directly after high school at the age of 18, embarking on a journey that demanded significant hard work and dedication.

In 2018, I proudly completed my degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude—an achievement that underscored my unwavering dedication and passion for my chosen career. Every academic pursuit poses its challenges, but it is one’s passion for the chosen path that becomes the driving force.

Following graduation, I fulfilled my mandatory year of community service—a prerequisite for full qualification and registration as a professional nurse. My service year took place within the broader community of the Eastern Cape, spanning a transformative year. Upon the conclusion of my service in February 2020, I returned home to Cape Town amidst the onset of a global pandemic, at a time when nurses were about to shoulder an unprecedented burden.

When lockdown began I was unemployed seeking work which was a very difficult time for me as I knew I had just been fully qualified and ready to work. However as a nurse I was unable to offer my services as many things were put on hold due to lockdown regulations.

After two months there was an extreme need for nursing staff and I was finally able to be employed and join the fight. It was scary knowing I was about to put my life and my family’s in danger but I knew I had to give this my all and make my contribution as this is what being a nurse is all about, being there for someone else when they are unable to take care of themselves. I worked directly with covid-19 patients carrying out treatments and providing support. It was difficult dealing with staff shortages, lack of ppe, long hours, and patient influx but the feeling of knowing you are making a difference and helping your community is what carried me through.

After I became ill with the virus my first thoughts were to let my family be safe and let me recover quickly so I can get back to my duties. We were fortunate to have pulled through and continued the fight. Whatever you decide to do make sure it is something you will enjoy 5 to 50 years from now, nothing is easy, no job is without risks. Be passionate about what you do and you will always be successful.”

For all those students interested in nursing, it is important to figure out what area of nursing you want to pursue. This will provide you with the guidance you need when deciding on what qualification to complete in order to specialise in a specific medical field of nursing.

Nursing Colleges

Wondering where to study nursing? Click here for a list of institutions you can study nursing at.


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