Cape Town, South Africa
Do you live in or plan to travel to the country of South Africa, perhaps as part of a Study-Abroad program? Have you decided yet on a subject area in which to focus your undergraduate or graduate studies? If you haven’t, maybe you should consider pursuing a degree in the fast-paced and very rewarding field of nursing. To help you get started, below we have compiled some interesting facts about studying nursing in South Africa, including some details about the country itself, the type and scope of the nursing programs offered there, and some of the reasons as to why studying nursing in this country may be one of your best educational options.
Studying Nursing in South Africa: Overview
About South Africa
The beautiful country of South Africa is situated at the southern tip of the African continent. It is the 25th
largest country in the world by area, which includes over 1,700 miles of gorgeous coastline, and the 24th
most populous country, with over 51 million people divided between nine provinces. Its neighbors include the counties of Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the north, and Mozambique and Swaziland to the east, while Lesotho, an enclave, is surrounded by South African territory.
Why Study Nursing in South Africa
Studying nursing in South Africa, one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse nations in the world, can be the learning experience of a lifetime, both inside and outside of the classroom. The country has eleven official languages recognized by its constitution, including English and Afrikaans, a language which originated from the Dutch that is spoken informally by the majority of white and colored South Africans. South Africa possesses the largest communities of European, Asian and racially-mixed ancestry on the continent, and while English is the most commonly-spoken language in public and in the country’s schools, it is only the fifth most-spoken language in residents’ homes. As a result of this wide diversity, the country provides one of the best environments for new language acquisition, as well as for learning the customs and traditions of a variety of ethnic and cultural groups.
If nature is your cup of tea, you’ll be happy to learn that South Africa’s million-plus square kilometers host a variety of landscapes, from stunning coasts and mountains in the south to the grassland bush in the north. The tip of the continent encompasses everything from the rigorous flats of the Karoo Desert to the subtropical beauty of Natal’s exotic beaches, capped by the breathtaking and very majestic Drakensberg mountain range. Whether you decide to spend a summer, semester or several years studying in South Africa, you’ll find plenty to explore in this wild and diverse land.
In addition to South Africa’s natural beauty and cultural and ethnic diversity, there are also a number of other reasons to study nursing in the country. According to statistics, South Africa has the best educational system in Africa, particularly when it comes to institutions of higher learning and programs such as nursing. One popular university, the University of the Free State
, located in the city of Bloemfontein, has a school dedicated to training nurses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who study here can initially pursue their Baccalaureus Curationis
, better known as the BCur degree, a four to five-year undergraduate program that can lead to a position as a general nurse or nurse auxiliary. If you decide to further your education in the nursing field, which can naturally lead to greater compensation, you can pursue any number of post-graduate nursing programs and earn your Master’s Degree in a specialty such as general nursing, midwifery or psychiatric nursing. Some institutions, including the aforementioned University of the Free State
, even offer PhD programs in the nursing field to those who qualify, as well as the coveted Doctor Curationis
, also known as a DCur degree.
The final, and perhaps most compelling reason to study nursing in South Africa is the abundance of employment prospects available for qualified graduates. Like in many countries, including the United States and countries throughout Europe, South Africa has a critical nursing shortage, especially in the public sector. The South African Nursing Council and the country’s Health Management Bureau recently recommended a nurse/population ratio of 1:416, but the current demand greatly exceeds the supply. In fact, to meet the rising demand, the country’s colleges and universities would need to bolster the actual annual student-nurse output by an additional 4000 qualified nursing graduates. Many nursing students are even offered gainful employment by public hospitals and other medical facilities well before they are set to graduate, an incentive designed to provide extra motivation to complete the program and ultimately enter the workforce.