Nursing is a calling to serve humankind. Most people start nursing because they care about other people and because they like helping people.
It is however important to understand that nursing is not always an easy task, but it is very rewarding and enjoyable. It feels great when you can reach out, touch someone in need, and help someone regain his or her health. It feels fantastic to be able to bring a new baby into the world and to make use of all the latest technology. It also feels wonderful to care for the young and old and make the dying person more comfortable. Nursing also teaches us to understand the different behaviours of people, to develop good interactive skills and coping mechanisms and to increase our emotional intelligence.
Nurses are important in communities too. They are often looked upon as the educated and are therefore asked to take the lead in community projects and development initiatives. Nurses can and do, make a difference in the world.
Yes, nurses sometimes care for people with infectious diseases. Nurses are trained how to protect themselves and others to minimize the risk. At the beginning of their training, nursing students are strongly advised to use different methods of boosting their immunity, e.g., having immunisations, ensuring that they follow a balanced diet and developing a healthy lifestyle to increase their levels of protection from disease.
It is a legal requirement that employers put protective measures in place, but it is also required that employees comply with these measures and do everything in their power to protect themselves and prevent injury or infections. In the event that a nurse is exposed to a health risk, he or she will be treated immediately, and the necessary policies and procedures will be implemented. Please ensure that you ask your lecturers for the necessary information.

Students registered for the new Bachelor of Nursing programme must complete 3000 hours of practical “work”. Without the practical component, a student will not be able to graduate as a general nurse and midwife or be eligible for registration with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). Practical placements start in the first year, after orientation and simulation training. During the training, students are taught the necessary skills expected of a first-year student nurse.

Throughout the four-year training period, students are placed at various health-care facilities, such as hospitals and clinics, and they are also exposed to various disciplines; examples of these disciplines are surgical nursing, medical nursing and emergency nursing. Patients need 24-hour care, and therefore students do both day and night duty. Shifts are mostly from 07:00-16:00 or 07:00-19:00.

Nursing students are required to apply what they have learnt during their theoretical lectures and practical training when actively caring for patients in the health-care facilities where they are placed. Students will also be assessed and examined on a regular basis in health-care facilities and in simulations to ensure that they become competent professional nurses.

Applicants will receive updates throughout the process. Once the Admissions Department has processed the applications and referred them to the Department of Nursing Science, all applications will be screened by the head of the Department of Nursing Science.
Only those candidates that meet the academic requirements and selection criteria may be approved for the appropriate programmes. The process normally takes approximately one month. You will receive notification from the Admissions Department (usually an SMS), informing you that your application has been received and that it has been sent to the Department of Nursing Science for processing. After your application has been provisionally accepted/declined, you will receive another notification. If after six weeks you have not heard anything from the university or the Department of Nursing Science, please contact the department on Tel: 041 504 2122/3087 and speak to the secretary so that she can follow up on your application for you. Please have your student number ready when you make the call to ensure that the process runs smoothly, and you get the results more quickly.
Prospective students are encouraged to apply online. Please use the following link to find the application procedure.
Supporting documents: Please ensure that you send all requested documents with your application and that you understand the process of application fully.
Please note: It is important that you submit all required documents on time. Not submitting these documents may result in your application’s not being processed. You may forfeit the opportunity to study with us if this happens.
Application process: Once the application is submitted online, it gets processed by the Admissions Department. The Admissions Department will then forward the application to the Department of Nursing Science for selection. Once selection has been completed, the Department of Nursing Science sends the outcome to the Admissions Department, who will in turn notify you whether you have been accepted or not. You will receive notifications via SMS and/or email throughout the process.
Finalisation of applications: Provisional acceptance is finalised once your matric (Grade 12) results are published, provided that you still adhere to the requirements and selection criteria of the programme.

Applications are usually open from April to September each year. Please ensure that you apply in time. All applications have to be screened to ensure that students comply with the entrance requirements and the requirements of the training programme. Upon acceptance, you will receive registration information. Registration is normally towards the end of January or the beginning of February each year.


- Certified copy of Identity document

- Certified copy of your latest matric results

- Academic record and certificate of conduct from previous institutions (if applicable)

- Diploma/Degree (if applicable)

- Marriage certificate (if applicable)

- Proof of residential address (if applying for on-campus accommodation)


- All of the above listed documentation

- Proof of professional indemnity care

- SANC receipt

- Completed Curriculum Vitae (detailing working experience)

- U24 completed (Post-graduate application form)


Student may apply for residence/on-campus accommodation here:


For more information regarding residence accommodation, please click on the following link:


No - the choice of accommodation is at the discretion of the student.

It is the student’s responsibility to arrange and pay for accommodation.

The language of instruction is English.


The Bachelor of Nursing degree spans a period of four years. However, if candidates do not meet direct academic admission requirements, they may be considered for the Bachelor of Nursing (Extended) programme, which spans a period of five years. If students do not pass their modules or complete their theoretical or practical requirements, their studies will be prolonged. The maximum duration of study is six years.

Students have to attend classes and do laboratory work as well as clinical work in health-care settings. Students care for patients in the clinical areas, and they provide basic care, e.g., washing and feeding patients, and they also carry out more specialised functions, such as giving medication, putting up IV fluids and executing doctors’ orders.
A stipulated number of practical hours must be done before students are able to qualify. They also have to pass all the modules. Practical experience is obtained in various hospitals and health-care institutions in and around the Nelson Mandela Bay area. Student nurses will be in class on average 24 hours per week and will spend on average 16 hours in the clinical areas, e.g., hospitals or clinics, per week. You will actively care for patients right through your training programme. You will be comprehensively orientated in the beginning of the programme. All the necessary particulars and requirements will be given to you at the orientation programme.

Students are assessed continuously throughout the programme. Assessment is done using a variety of methods, e.g., tests, examinations, assignments, practical assessments (of patient care or in a simulation laboratory), presentations etc. Examinations are written in June/July and again in November/December each year. Theoretical examinations are three hours in duration, and practical assessments are approximately one to two hours.

No. The South African Nursing Council and the Department of Nursing Science prescribe the number of practical hours and where these will take place. Lecturers will place students in a variety of institutions to ensure that they get the necessary range of exposure to the clinical areas that are required for registration at the end of the programme.

No. Due to the practical component and the hours of practical training the students have to complete before qualifying, additional practical hours have to be done during the recess periods. Students will however be able to have recess for ± 28 days during the December/January recess period, provided that they have adhered to the requirements of the training programme.

As the public needs 24 hours care, students will be expected to participate in shift work. Nurses in their first year (direct entry programme) will participate in shift work on some week and weekends. The Extended Bachelor of Nursing students only start their practical placements in their second year of study. First year students will not be expected to do shifts at night. Second to fourth year students will be required to do night duty mainly during recess periods.

All degree programmes start at the beginning of February. Students will be required to attend orientation programmes run by the university and the Department of Nursing Science at the end of January. The academic programme will be presented to the students at the orientation that takes place in the Department of Nursing Science.

Students that excel in the nursing programmes are sometimes granted the opportunity to go overseas as exchange students for a period of time. Some students have been to Sweden for three months, and others have been to America and England for two to three weeks. They are expected to be ambassadors for South Africa and the nursing profession. Students have to go through a stringent selection process before being awarded this opportunity. Students also have to make a financial contribution towards this opportunity, e.g., personal spending money.

Yes, it is compulsory for all registered South African nurses to do one year of community service on completion of their programmes. In June or July of the year in which the students complete the nursing programme, they have to fill in forms to request placements for their community service year. After completion of the degree (meaning that all requirements have been met regarding theory and practice), a certificate of completion is sent to the South African Nursing Council. Nurses are then registered with the South African Nursing Council as community service nurses. Once the South African Nursing Council has received evidence of the completion of the community service, the graduates are registered as professional nurses.

Yes, Nursing students are encouraged to participate in all activities on campus and enjoy their student life.

Undergraduate student nurses are mostly placed in hospitals and clinics in the Gqeberha and surrounding areas, which are SANC accredited.

It is preferable that nurses have their own transport. It is, however, not a necessity. The university does provide some transport for nursing students, but there are times that it is not available. Public transport is available in most metropolitan areas, e.g., to hospitals and clinics. When nurses do home-based care, assistance can be provided by the Department of Nursing Science, but such arrangements will be made via the lecturer and only if necessary. There is also a shuttle service during the academic year which transports students from the main campus to Missionvale campus daily. These services may not be available during recess periods. Please follow this link shuttle transport or email for more information relating to available shuttle transport service.

The university has campus health centres, and students are treated for a nominal fee at these clinics. A registered nurse will consult with the student first and treat him or her if necessary. If the student needs to see a doctor, the nurse will refer the student to one of the doctors on site. If the student needs services that are not available on site, he or she will be given a letter and referred to another health service. The university does not provide a medical aid/insurance, but students may seek such insurance from a company of their choice and at their own cost.

You will receive a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the university. The student will be qualified as a registered nurse (for the legacy programmes) or a professional nurse for the new programme (starting 2020).

The Department of Nursing Science does not offer any bursaries. Students are encouraged to secure financial aid for their studies before registration. Students should try to obtain funding from any sources that they can. Please remember that the sooner you apply, the better. If you apply late, funding may not be available anymore. Please consult the Financial Aid website for financial assistance related to your studies:

Normally, bursary funds are paid into the student’s university account and are managed by the university’s Financial Aid Office. The student’s tuition fees, and other related fees will be deducted from the amount. Accommodation costs will be deducted for the year if the student is residing in an accredited residence. The balance may be paid out to the student, in equal amounts, over a period of 12 months.

No the university does not provide any indemnity. It is compulsory for students to provide proof of indemnity insurance before they register for the nursing programme. Indemnity bodies: DENOSA or HOSPERSA.

Students will have additional costs, such as uniforms. More details will be provided to students that have been selected for the programme, both before registration and at the orientation sessions.

Students do not get paid because they do not “work” during the course of their studies. They have to get practical experience and learn how to do certain clinical skills which can only be done in the surrounding hospitals and clinics. These practical hours that the students have to do are set (prescribed) by the South African Nursing Council.
Students that do not complete the prescribed number of clinical hours cannot be registered as qualified nurses with the South African Nursing Council on completion of their programmes and will therefore not be able to work as nurses in South Africa.
Yes, our international students are integrated into the usual nursing programmes, and they do everything that the South African nursing students do. We also have international students that come for short visits and work in hospitals under supervision. If you wish to be an international student, you will need a study permit, and your matric certificate will have to be assessed before you can apply to get into the degree programme for nurses.
Please contact the international office for more information:

Once a nurse is qualified, he or she has to pay an annual licensing fee. No nurse may touch a patient if not registered with the South African Nursing Council.

Nursing is one of the best careers anyone can choose because there is such diversity within nursing as a profession. Initially, everyone does a basic nursing degree (which includes midwifery), but after that, the qualified professional nurse can choose from a wide variety of specialisation areas. The following are some examples: intensive care nursing, orthopaedic nursing, operating theatre nursing, occupational health nursing, paediatric nursing, forensic nursing, nephrology nursing, psychiatric nursing, midwifery and neonatal nursing, community health nursing, nursing and health services management, nursing education and nursing research.
Nursing allows you to work all over the world, in your discipline of choice. At the moment, there is a shortage of nurses around the world, and nurses frequently use this work opportunity to learn about other countries and health-care models

Most qualified nurses work 8-12 hours a day and 40 hours per week. Nurses do shift work, so they can go on duty early or later in the day. Most night shifts are 12 hours long. There are some institutions that will allow flexi hours, but this depends on the internal policy and demands of each health-care institution.

All nursing students (nationals and foreign students) have to be registered at the South African Nursing Council as nursing students to be able to do their training in South Africa. According to the Nursing Act No 33 of 2005 it is illegal to touch a patient if the person is not registered as a student or a qualified nurse in South Africa.
Nationals are registered for community service, and only after completion of community service and after the certification of completion is received from the institution where community service was rendered, do nationals apply and become registered with the South African Nursing Council.
Foreign nursing students have to go through an extensive process before they can study in South Africa. You can obtain the necessary information from the Office for International Education. International students also have to register as students with the South African Nursing Council. Once international students have completed their training, they have to return to their country of origin. These nurses obtain their nursing degree from Nelson Mandela University, but it does not entitle them to practise in South Africa as a professional nurse. They have to register as a nurse in their own country. The university will send the necessary transcripts of the students’ training to their professional body upon request. Students should find out what the processes and requirements are BEFORE they study in South Africa to ensure they get the necessary documentation before they leave South Africa on completion of their training. If they want to return to South Africa to work, they have to apply for registration with the South African Nursing Council (but they can only do this once they are registered in their own country). It takes international nurses a long time to register with the South African Nursing Council. International nurses should NOT come to South Africa before they have proof of registration in South Africa because they will not be able to work here.

Nelson Mandela University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing Science

Phone number: 041-504 2122/3087
Fax number: 041 – 504 2616
Postal Address:
Department of Nursing Science,
Nelson Mandela University
P. O Box 77000
The physical address is:
Department of Nursing Science,
Nelson Mandela University
Building 226 2nd Floor R Block North Campus
University way
The university has a variety of campuses: Summerstand Campus (which is the main campus), Missionvale Campus, Ocean Sciences Campus, George Campus, 2nd Avenue Campus and Bird Street Campus.
The Department of Nursing Science is on North Campus in Summerstrand, and we also have facilities at Missionvale Campus, where the first two years of the Bachelor of Nursing (Extended) programme is offered. Student nurses will be expected to move between these campuses.