Factual informaton on R425 Registered Nurse, R174 Professional Nurse and Midwife, and R171 General Nurse

25 May 2020

The South African Nursing Council has become aware through various media platforms that there is misinformation regarding the status of the current and future status of the four(4)- year degree/diploma nursing programme (Regulations Relating to the Approval of and the Minimum Requirements for the Education and Training of a Nurse (General, Psychiatric and Community) and Midwife leading to Registration-Government Notice No. R. 425 of 22 February 1985 as amended) and possibly other qualifications. This has caused confusion to the profession and the public at large.


  1. Current status of the Four year (4) Degree and Diploma programme.(R.425)
    This is a legacy nursing qualification that is being phased out like all other legacy qualifications in the country, in line with the requirements of the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework and as supported by the Board Notice published in the Government Gazette by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation in July 2016. The last intake for this programme was 2019. It must be noted however that the programme leading to this qualification continues and is going to continue being offered for pipeline students for the next four (4) to six (6) academic years including 2 years teach-out period.


This programme will for some years run concurrently with the new four-year Bachelor programme. These two qualifications are mutually exclusive qualifications and none is a replacement of the other.


Any person that completed the R. 425 programme leading to Registration with the SANC as a Nurse (General, Psychiatric and Community) and Midwife shall retain this title and qualification and shall not be “degraded” or “demoted” in any way.


On completion of the R. 425 programme, graduates and diplomats from the four-year programme will be registered by the South African Nursing Council as Nurse (General, Community & Psychiatric) and Midwife. This programme will not under any circumstances be downgraded or changed in any way. It will run its course until it is naturally phased out in about 6 years.

No downgrading of the four-year R425 Course
The profession needs to note that the Registered Nurse qualifying from this programme will not be downgraded in anyway whatsoever. Section 31 (1) (c) of the Nursing Act, 2005 (Act no. 33 OF 2005), prescribed a category Staff Nurse. Following various changes in legislation, particularly the National Qualifications Framework Act, it became necessary that the nursing qualifications fit within the country’s qualification framework.
As a result, the Category “General Nurse” was created through a board notice published in Government Gazette R.939 of 28 June 2019 by the Minister of Health. This programme will have a duration of three years and is not a replacement of any other qualification.

  1. Future four- year programme(R.174)

This is a new four-year programme governed by Regulations Relating to the Approval of and the Minimum Requirements for the Education and Training of a Learner leading to Registration in the Categories Professional Nurse and Midwife (Government Notice No. R174 of 8 March 2013).

Several Universities and Public Nursing Colleges were accredited by the Council to offer the programme. The SANC is aware that they have opted to commence with the offering of this programme in 2021.

Further information for students:
Students that are currently undergoing the R 425 programme should therefore not panic due to misinformation and disinformation from informal sources. They are encouraged to enquire and seek clarity from their principals regarding the uncertainties. The Heads of Nursing Education Institutions can if necessary enquire and be duly and formally advised by the SANC.

On behalf of the CEO& Registrar:
Ms S Mchunu