what subjects do you need to become a nurse in south africa

What Subjects Do You Need to Become a Nurse in South Africa?

Becoming a nurse in South Africa requires a strong educational foundation and specialized training. If you have a passion for helping others and are considering a career in nursing, it’s important to understand the subjects you need to study to pursue this profession. This article will outline the key subjects required to become a nurse in South Africa, providing you with valuable insights into the educational journey of a nurse.

1. Mathematics

Mathematics is an essential subject for aspiring nurses. It forms the basis for various calculations and ensures precision in medical administration, dosage calculations, and other critical tasks. A solid understanding of mathematical concepts is necessary to excel in the nursing field, as it helps in analyzing data, interpreting medical records, and measuring vital signs accurately.

what subjects do you need to become a nurse in south africa

2. Physical Sciences

Studying physical sciences is crucial for aspiring nurses as it helps build a foundation in key scientific principles. This subject covers topics such as physics and chemistry, which are essential in understanding the physiological processes and chemical reactions occurring within the human body. Knowledge of physical sciences assists nurses in comprehending medical treatments, pharmaceuticals, and the effects of different substances on the body.

3. Life Sciences

Life sciences are a core subject for prospective nurses as it focuses on biology and human anatomy. This subject provides an in-depth understanding of the structure and functions of the human body, including the various systems and organs. Knowledge of life sciences enables nurses to identify abnormalities, diagnose medical conditions, and implement appropriate treatment plans.

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4. English

Proficiency in the English language is vital in the nursing profession, as it serves as the primary mode of communication between healthcare professionals and patients. Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary to effectively interact with colleagues, document medical records, and ensure clear comprehension of patient needs. English language skills also facilitate efficient collaboration within multidisciplinary healthcare teams.

5. Additional Recommended Subjects

While the above-mentioned subjects serve as the core foundation, certain other subjects can strengthen your nursing education:

  • Life Orientation: This subject helps develop interpersonal skills, ethical values, and an understanding of personal health and well-being.
  • Physical Education: Physical fitness is crucial for nurses, as they must maintain their stamina and well-being to effectively perform their duties.
  • First Aid: Acquiring knowledge and skills in first aid can be highly beneficial for nurses, as it allows them to provide immediate assistance during emergencies.


To become a nurse in South Africa, you must complete a comprehensive educational journey. Mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, and English are fundamental subjects that form the basis of a nursing education. Additionally, subjects like life orientation, physical education, and first aid can enhance your skills and knowledge in the field. By pursuing these subjects with dedication and passion, you can lay a strong foundation for a rewarding and fulfilling career in nursing.

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