Average Nurse Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Nurse salary in South Africa is R25,759 per month. An entry-level Nurse earns a salary range of R15,000, a Mid-career level earns about R25,533, and a senior/experienced level earns R34,308 per month.

Average Nurse Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Nurse 15,000
Mid-Career Nurse 25,533
Experienced Nurse 34,308

Types of Nurses and Their Functions in South Africa

In South Africa, there are various types of nurses with distinct functions. Some common types include:

1. Registered Nurses (RNs)

They provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families.

2. Enrolled Nurses (ENs)

Work under the supervision of registered nurses, providing basic patient care, administering medication, and assisting with rehabilitation activities.

3. Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries (ENAs)

Assist with basic patient care tasks, such as bathing and feeding, under the supervision of registered or enrolled nurses.

4. Clinical Nurse Practitioners (CNPs)

Specialize in specific areas, such as pediatrics or mental health, and may have advanced clinical skills allowing them to diagnose and treat certain conditions.

5. Critical Care Nurses

Work in intensive care units (ICUs) and provide care to patients with life-threatening conditions, requiring specialized skills and knowledge.

6. Community Health Nurses

Focus on public health, working in communities to promote wellness, prevent diseases, and provide healthcare education.

7. Midwives

Specialize in providing care to pregnant women, assisting with childbirth, and offering postnatal care to both the mother and newborn.

8. Psychiatric Nurses

Specialize in mental health, providing care to individuals with psychiatric disorders and promoting mental well-being.

Factors Affecting Nurse Salaries in South Africa

1. Experience

Nurses with more years of experience generally command higher salaries due to the acquired expertise and competence in patient care.

2. Education

Higher educational qualifications, such as advanced degrees or specialized certifications, can lead to increased earning potential for nurses.

3. Location

Salaries vary based on the region or province. Urban areas with higher living costs may offer higher salaries compared to rural areas.

4. Type of Healthcare Facility

Nurses working in private hospitals or specialized medical centres might receive higher salaries than those in public or smaller healthcare facilities.

5. Specialized Skills

Nurses with specialized skills or certifications in areas like critical care, oncology, or anaesthesia may receive higher compensation due to the demand for these skills.

6. Additional Certifications

Obtaining additional certifications beyond basic nursing qualifications can enhance a nurse’s marketability and lead to higher salaries.

7. Years of Service

Long-term commitment to a healthcare institution may be rewarded with salary increases, as it reflects loyalty and dedication.

8. Demand in Specific Regions

Areas facing shortages of healthcare professionals may offer higher salaries to attract and retain qualified nurses.

9. Government Policies

Government policies and healthcare regulations can impact salaries, especially in public healthcare where salaries may be standardized.

10. Economic Conditions

The overall economic climate can influence healthcare budgets and subsequently affect nurse salaries.

How to Become a Nurse in South Africa

To become a nurse in South Africa, one must follow a structured educational and professional pathway. The process involves specific academic qualifications, practical training, and registration with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). Here is a detailed guide on how to become a nurse in South Africa:

1. Educational Requirements

Obtain a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification with subjects including Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, Physical Science, and Life Sciences. Meeting specific subject requirements is crucial for eligibility.

2. Choose the Nursing Program

Select a recognized nursing program offered by an accredited institution. South Africa offers various nursing programs, including a four-year Bachelor of Nursing degree or a three-year diploma in nursing. Choose the program that aligns with your career goals.

3. Apply to Nursing School

Apply to the chosen nursing school. Admission requirements may include academic transcripts, a motivation letter, and sometimes an interview. Ensure you meet all the criteria and deadlines for application.

4. Nursing Education

Complete the theoretical and practical components of the nursing program. The curriculum typically covers subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, nursing theory, and clinical practice. Practical training is often conducted in healthcare settings under the supervision of qualified nursing staff.

5. Clinical Placement

Gain hands-on experience through clinical placements in hospitals, clinics, and community settings. This allows nursing students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world patient care scenarios.

6. Write the SANC Exam

After completing the nursing program, graduates must write the South African Nursing Council examination. This exam assesses theoretical knowledge and clinical competency. Successful completion is a prerequisite for professional registration.

7. Professional Registration

Once you pass the SANC exam, apply for professional registration with the South African Nursing Council. Registration is mandatory to practice as a nurse in South Africa. Ensure all required documents, including academic transcripts and proof of successful exam completion, are submitted.

8. Choose a Nursing Specialty (Optional)

Nurses may choose to specialize in areas such as paediatrics, critical care, community health, or mental health. Specialization often requires additional training and certification.

9. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Engage in ongoing professional development activities to stay updated on advancements in nursing practice. The South African Nursing Council requires registered nurses to accumulate CPD points through various learning activities.

10. Seek Employment

Once registered, seek employment in healthcare institutions, including hospitals, clinics, or community health organizations. Networking and applying for positions through job portals can be beneficial.

11. Professional Ethics

Adhere to the Nursing Act and the SANC’s Code of Ethics for nursing practitioners. Upholding professional standards and ethical conduct is essential in the nursing profession.

12. Pursue Further Education (Optional)

Nurses can pursue postgraduate studies to advance their careers, such as obtaining a master’s degree or specializing in a specific area of nursing.

13. Community Service

Newly qualified nurses are often required to complete a period of community service. This is a crucial step for professional development and is mandatory for full registration.

14. Stay Informed

Keep up-to-date with developments in the nursing field by attending conferences, and workshops, and staying informed about new medical advancements.

15. Renewal of Registration

Regularly renew your nursing registration with the SANC, as failure to do so can result in loss of licensure.



The average nurse salary in South Africa is R25,759. Becoming a nurse in South Africa involves a combination of education, practical training, and registration processes. It’s essential to stay dedicated to your studies, gain hands-on experience, and continually update your skills to thrive in this dynamic and rewarding profession.