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South African Nursing Council Coat of Arms


The following is the Bureau of Heraldry official description of the South African Nursing Council coat of arms:


Per chevron Gules and Azure, a chevron Or, in base a double handled antique lamp also Or, ensigned of a plate charged with a flame Gules.


A demi-lion Gules holding an ansated cross fitchy at the foot Or, charged with a tau cross Azure, with two balance pans suspended from the horizontal limbs, Or. Wreath and mantling: Or and Gules.



19 October 1990


There is always a lot of symbolism in a coat of arms. The South African Nursing Council coat of arms is no exception. Here are some features to note:

  • bullet The colours Blue and Silver are taken from the Nursing Council badge. Red is included for it’s association with healing, i.e. the Red Cross.
  • The shield bears an antique oil lamp, symbol of Florence Nightingale, and of nursing throughout the world. In South Africa, the lamp is often lit at graduation ceremonies where newly qualified nurses take a vow of service and commitment to their profession. A lamp similar to this is lit 24-hours a day in the foyer of the Nursing Council building in Pretoria as a symbol of South African nurses’ commitment to caring for their patients.
  • Above the oil lamp is a gold chevron, symbolic of a house or hospital’s roof and which is a universal symbol of protection and comfort against outside dangers.
  • The red half-lion at the top indicates that the South African Nursing Council is a statutory body. The coats of arms of government bodies contain full lions and those of statutory bodies contain half-lions. The term “statutory body” means that there is a law (or statute) of the Republic of South Africa which governs the bodies existence and functioning.
  • The half-lion holds aloft two different styles of crosses, a gold cross with a handle at the top and a blue T-shaped cross inside it. The gold cross (known as an Ankh cross) is a symbol of the Nile River, which was seen as a symbol of healing, health and happiness. The blue cross (known as a Tau cross) is shaped like a crutch since the Nursing Council supports South African nursing which in turn supports it’s patients.
  • The gold cross is pointed at the lower end like the blade of a sword and has suspended from the cross piece two balance pans. The sword and balance pans are similar to those commonly associated with justice and authority. Together they symbolise the authority which the Nursing Council has to set standards of nursing education and practice and absolute fairness – no patient will be treated differently to any other patient. These symbols also have specific reference to the professional conduct cases which are brought before the Nursing Council – the balance pans for ensuring that justice is done and the sword for judgement delivered in these cases.
  • The motto “AD EXCELLENTIAE STUDENDUM” means “In Pursuit of Excellence”. The Nursing Council sets minimum standards for education of nurses in South Africa. The motto reminds learners following accredited nursing courses that they will only achieve excellence in their chosen career if they apply themselves diligently to their studies.