Nursing is undoubtedly a fulfilling and rewarding profession. With nurses ensuring that individuals, families, and communities attain optimal health thereby improving the quality of life, they have proved to be essential to all health care systems around the globe. In South Africa, one can enroll in a six-month nursing course, otherwise known as six months caregiving program. There are a number of institutions that offer such nursing courses as they have been accredited by the South African Nursing Council to offer such training. However, the nursing council has grouped nurses into three categories – registered nurses or nursing sisters, enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries.
Consequently, those with 6 months nursing certificates are grouped under the enrolled nursing auxiliaries alongside those that have achieved a one-year higher certificate in auxiliary nursing. This is because both need to work under the supervision of a registered nurse with a degree or diploma. Over the years, there has been a high demand for nurses with six months of training, also known as caregivers in the country. They have been needed to provide quality healthcare service to patients; mostly the elderly, injured, sick, and handicapped in the community. The job is quite lucrative as they earn tens of thousands of rands in salary.
Institutions That Offer Six Months Nursing Courses in South Africa
In South Africa, there are many institutions and colleges where one can study nursing for four years and achieve a Bachelor of Nursing Science, Education & Administration and equally, a diploma after a three-year program. However, the South African Nursing Council has given accreditation to some institutions to train caregivers for six months. While some of the institutions are located in Johannesburg, others are situated in other regions in the country. They are listed as follows;
1. Medclinic International
The international private hospital group was founded in 1983 and is situated in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Besides having operations in Mzansi, the group also has a presence in Namibia, United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. The six months nursing courses offered by the international private hospital in collaboration with South African tertiary institutions include:
- Oncology/Haematology Nursing
- General Critical Care
- Cardio-Thoracic Critical Care
- Operating Theatre Nursing
- Anaesthetic and Recovery Room Nursing
- Emergency Nursing
- Nursing Science of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Cardiac Interventions
2. Netcare Education
Netcare is headquartered in Sandton, Johannesburg. It ranks as the largest private healthcare provider in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Below is a list of the six months nursing courses offered by the private college:
- Elementary Paediatric Critical Care Nursing
- Anaesthetic and Recovery Room Skills
- Maternity Nursing
- Trauma and Emergency Nursing
- Central Sterile Service Department Technician
- Infection Prevention and Control Nursing
- Elementary Neonatal Critical Care Nursing
- Paediatric Cardio-Thoracic Nursing
- Elementary Critical Care Nursing
- Operating Room Skills
3. Gym Auxiliary Nursing School
Also located in Johannesburg, Gym Auxiliary offers a 6-month nursing course. They additionally offer a bachelor’s degree program, as well as diploma, higher certificate, postgraduate advanced diploma in nursing, and midwifery programs. The school’s six months nursing programs are listed as follows;
- Skills Development Programme – Part qualification (NQF Level 01)
- Home-based Care
Qualifications Needed To Study The 6 Months Nursing Course
For one to qualify to study the six months nursing program, he or she must have the National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification at exit level 3 or 4. Most importantly the person must score 50%-59% in subjects such as;
- First additional or home language
- English language
- Life Orientation and,
- Four other subjects
Also, after obtaining the six months nursing certificate, caregivers can enroll for the higher certificate in auxiliary nursing for one year with the same requirements. This course will enable the caregiver to work as an auxiliary nurse in hospitals, out-patient clinics and pharmacies, research labs, government institutions, nursing homes, universities, and schools. Institutions where one can enroll for the higher certificate in auxiliary nursing, are:
- Ukwazi School of Nursing, Johannesburg
- St. Mary’s Nursing College, KwaZulu Natal
- Letjhabile Libalele Nursing College, Johannesburg
- Lillitha College of Nursing, Eastern Cape
- Khanyisa Nursing School, Johannesburg
At Lilitha College of Nursing, you can also further your education as a caregiver by enrolling in short nursing courses such as:
- HIV/AIDS and TB Management Certificate (8 weeks)
- Anaesthesiology for all categories of nurses (4 weeks)
- Primary Health Care (6 weeks)
Does The Six Months Nursing Programme Qualify You To Be a Registered Nurse?
Someone with a six-month nursing training certificate only qualifies to work as a professional caregiver and will have to register with the South African Nursing Council in order to practice caregiving legally in the country. If one decides to become a registered nurse or nursing sister (those who supervise the enrolled nurses and the enrolled auxiliary nurses), he or she must have a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing (BCur―Bachelor of Nursing Science, Education & Administration) or a three-year diploma certificate.
After attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science, you then become qualified to register as a professional nurse with the SANC. This four-year-long course is mostly offered by public universities such as the University of South Africa, the University of KwaZulu Natal, and the University of Cape Town. Diploma in Nursing, on the other hand, is mainly offered by universities of technology. They include the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, and the Vaal University of Technology.
Once the three years nursing course is completed, you will have to register with the South African Nursing Council and then become qualified to work as a registered nurse.
Jobs You Can Get With The Six Months Nursing Certificate
After completing the six months nursing course, one is qualified to work as a caregiver. The caregiving job involves the provision of medical and non-medical care to patients in the hospital, clinics, healthcare centers, or at old people’s homes. Some of their duties include:
- Assisting of registered nurses and doctors
- Bathing, dressing, and feeding of patients
- Administering of medications
- Making of beds
- Checking of temperature, blood pressure, pulses, and weight of the patient
In South Africa, a caregiver reportedly earns a salary estimated between R12,500 and R25,000. An average auxiliary nurse, on the other hand, is said to be earning a monthly salary that ranges from R15,250 to R38,000. Then most experienced auxiliary nurses can make up to R456,000 per year. To work as a home-based caregiver for older persons in Mzansi, you have to register as a caregiver at the nearest department of the social development office. The requirements are listed below;
- Identity document or residence permit
- A certificate that proves that you received nursing training from an institution accredited by the South African Qualification Authority.
Once you have the listed documents ready, you can visit the closest department of the social development office. There, you will complete Form 7 and submit the required documents. If the registration is successful, you will be issued a registration certificate that qualifies you to work as a home-based caregiver in the country.