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South African Nursing Council Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers may assist users to get the most out of the South African Nursing Council statistics.

How many nurses do we have in South Africa?

Have a look at the report called “Distribution by Province of Nursing Manpower versus the Population of South Africa…” for the latest year published.  This report gives numbers in the various broad categories of qualified persons and those still in training.  This report also gives a comprehensive breakdown of the numbers by province and gender.  At the bottom of the report it provides ratios of population to qualified nurse.

The report “Growth in the Registers and Rolls…” will also give you the same total numbers, but without all of the above interesting details.

Are the numbers of nurses increasing or decreasing?

The report called “Growth in the Registers and Rolls…” in the Time Series Statistics will show you exactly that.  It has separate charts for qualified practitioners and for those students and pupils still in training.

What do you mean by “Time Series Statistics”?

These reports all show how various numbers have changed over a period of years.  If available, we try to give comparative numbers for the last ten years in these reports.

In the case of qualified practitioners, do the numbers represent ONLY those persons who are employed in nursing?

Not at all.  The numbers represent those persons who are registered with the South African Nursing Council .  At present, the Nursing Council does not keep record of who is (or is not) employed in nursing.  It is a legal requirement that a person must be registered before he/she can be employed in nursing.  The numbers therefore represent:

  • Persons who ARE employed in nursing;
  • Job seekers; and
  • Persons who are NOT employed in nursing, but who choose to remain registered.

Do the numbers include nurses employed in both the public and the private health care sectors?

Yes they do.  However they ALSO include persons who are not employed in nursing at all – see the answer to the previous question.

Do the reports include midwives?

The majority of midwives are included under the heading Registered Persons in the reports.  There are a handful of Enrolled Midwives who for lack of space are included under the heading Enrolled Nurses – which heading should (correctly) be Enrolled Nurses and/or Enrolled Midwives.

Why are the total figures for persons in training less than the total figures reported by the Nursing Education Institutions?

This is quite possible if you are using figures from the report “Growth in the Registers and Rolls…” or one of the “Geographical Distribution…” reports.  Both these reports try to give a picture of the “possible” nursing resources (practitioners and learners) in South Africa.  In such reports, each individual can only be include once  – otherwise the figures would be incorrect (inflated).

The best way to illustrate this problem is to take the example of students engaged in the Bridging Course for Enrolled Nurses leading to Registration as a General Nurse. All these students must already be Enrolled Nurses – and will be indicated as such in the report.  To include these students a second time under Student Nurses would obviously lead to errors and an inflated total number of “possible” nursing resources.

I see all the reports are copyright.  May I use them?

All of the reports and statistics published on the website are copyright.  They have been published with the specific intention of enabling education and planning for nursing and midwifery in South Africa to be based on accurate and reliable information.  You are therefore granted permission to use them as research and planning resources and to make reference to them in your own original works.  You may also reproduce the tables and charts for educational and planning purposes.  You may do all this provided that you acknowledge South African Nursing Council as the source of the material.

You may not remove the Nursing Council copyright notice from any of the slides or tables and do not change any of the information!  Your co-operation in this regard will be greatly appreciated.