Types of Nurses in South Africa and How Much They Earn

Types of Nurses in South Africa and How Much They Earn

How many types of nurses are there in South Africa?

Being a nurse is probably one of the best jobs in South Africa due to its lucrative salaries, albeit very demanding. That is why; those who go for this profession because of money risk being unhappy and disappointed.

Becoming a nurse in SA takes at most four years of schooling at an accredited medical school to get full certification and potentially even longer to begin practicing since you must get licensed by the South African Nursing Council (SANC), whose mandate is to regulate nursing and midwifery professions to guarantee excellence in professionalism and advocacy for health care users.

Investing in all this is not just a matter of time but also money. Yes, it is a respectable career that entails doing good to society by administering medication, counseling, and other personalized interventions, but we must admit that the steps of becoming a nurse in South Africa are costly and full of special stresses – but is the nursing career really enriching?

Let’s take a look at the types of nurses and their salaries in South Africa. Get ready to scroll!

Types of nurses and salaries in South Africa

In South Africa, nursing is the largest healthcare profession, with over 280,000 registered nurses, according to the latest data from SANC, which indicates a net increase of 18% in the past decade.

Nonetheless, nursing remains one of the most scarce workforce as the study by the licensing body highlighted a poor nurse-to-patient ratio, which sits at 1:213, putting immense pressure on the operational nursing staff.

Nurses are categorized based on the qualifications’ framework, and here are the types of nurses in South Africa, their duties, including information on salary:

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Average monthly salary: R150,000

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are currently the highest-paid nurses in South Africa, with an average gross monthly salary of R150,000 or R1,800,000 annually. They are specialist nurses who administer precise anesthesia dosages to patients and monitor their response before and after receiving anesthesia.

They work closely with surgeons, dentists, and other physicians at intensive care units, emergency rooms, and surgical facilities when preparing patients for surgical procedures.

2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R93,750

Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) care for sick and premature newborns. They hold advanced degrees and certifications to fill one of the best healthcare jobs in South Africa, with a whopping salary of over R1,125,000 per year.

They are also responsible for performing and interpreting laboratory tests, conducting neonatal resuscitation for at-risk infants, leading frontline nurses, monitoring ventilators, incubators, and heart bypass machines, educating families on the plan of care, and participating in post-discharge care for sick babies.

Government nurse salary in South Africa 2022

3. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R95,000

According to the National Department of Health of the South African government, cardiovascular diseases are among the top 3 leading causes of natural deaths, claiming the lives of at least 215 every day. Approximately, every hour, 8 South Africans will have heart attacks or strokes, and cardiac nurse practitioners are needed to treat and enhance the understanding of people on heart diseases and help them live healthier lives.

Cardiac nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who cover comprehensive cardiac care to intervene in cases of congestive heart failure, cardiac infections, valvular irregularities, and myocardial infarction and assist in conducting cardiac surgeries.

To become a cardiac nurse practitioner in South Africa, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and advance studies to a Master’s in Nursing (MSN) or doctorate level nurse practitioner program before getting certified as a cardiologist after completing the cardiology Fellowship. The entire process takes 10 to 15 years.

4. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R94,167

With a gross monthly salary of R94,167, orthopedic nurse practitioners are among the highest paid nurses in South Africa. An orthopedic nurse practitioner is a nursing specialty that entails treating patients with musculoskeletal issues and deformations that arises from injuries or genetic abnormalities.

Types of nurses and salaries in South Africa 2023



They assist orthopedic surgeons during a surgical procedure and create pain management schedules for patients to aid in their quick recovery.

5. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R92,750

A report by the South African National Cancer Registry (NCR) indicates that over 100,000 citizens are diagnosed with cancer every year in the last three years. It is classified as one of the leading causes of death, and for instance, 56,802 patients lost their battle with cancer in 2020.

For this, oncology nurse practitioners have a very important job of working closely with doctors to assist in treatment, patient assessment, and coordinating the care for cancer patients in South Africa.

Oncology nurse practitioners are specialists in bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hematology, radiation oncology, and gynecologic oncology to work full-time or part-time in hospitals, ambulance care centers, cancer treatment facilities, or at home as caregivers.

They earn an average monthly salary of R92,750 or an annual gross salary of R1,113,000.

6. General Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R92,667

A career as a general nurse practitioner in South Africa is personally and financially rewarding. They have a base pay of R92,667 or R1,112,000 yearly, and their responsibilities include ordering diagnostic tests, examining patients, providing treatment plans, prescribing medications, and recording patients’ medical history.

7. Family Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R92,500

Advanced practice registered nurses trained to treat the full range of patient populations, from infants to adults, are family nurse practitioners. They deliver family-focused care and thus develop a long-term relationship with families as they get to know each other over time while providing medical assessments, routine physicals, minor surgeries, and therapies emphasizing preventive care.

Family nurse practitioners in South Africa command an average monthly salary of R92,500.

8. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Average monthly salary: R92,333

Clinical nurse specialists wear too many different hats. This standardized and licensed healthcare profession involves providing expert medical care from the capacities of a caregiver, counselor, and oncologist to that of an educator, researcher and policymaker.

They also order lab tests, research, assess patients, and administer basic and complex treatments bereft of a physician. In South Africa, clinical nurse specialists take home an average salary of R92,233 monthly.\

9. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R92,250

The latest research by Sapien Labs shows that South Africa is one of the worst hit countries on mental health matters. According to their Annual Mental State of the World Report, which focused on 34 countries and 223,087 respondents, the percentage of distressed or struggling increased by 8% from 28.5% in 2020 to 36%, with the overall Mental Health Quotient capping at 46%.

The ability of South Africans to handle life and its various stresses and challenges is dwindling along with self-perception, and psychiatric nurse practitioners, also psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are needed to assess and diagnose those suffering from mental health as a result of stigma, health conditions, substance abuse, long term stresses, job loss, abuse, and inherited traits among others.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners educate the families of those affected on how to handle and care for patients. They also perform or recommend age-appropriate screening procedures to determine several mental health disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, trauma, depression, manic-depressive states, and anxiety.

They are among the highest-paid nurses in South Africa, with a minimum monthly salary of R92,250 or R1,107,000 per year.

10. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R92,083

Pediatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide primary and specialty patient-facing health care services to children from infancy to adulthood.

They conduct one on one well-child examinations, conduct immunization, diagnose and treat mild and chronic illnesses, and serve as trusted allies and educators to children and their families to guarantee wellness throughout their young lives.

Types of nurses and salaries in South Africa

It is a mutually satisfying career in South Africa as pediatric nurse practitioners get time to bond with children and their families while getting a hefty monthly salary of R92,083 or R1,105,000 yearly.

11. Certified Nurse Midwife

Average monthly salary: R91,833

Statistics South Africa says that over 68% of women are assisted by a nurse or a midwife to give birth. That is how important they are. And as part of transformative and progressive policies to downtrend the maternal mortality rate, which stood at 88,0 per 100,000 live births in South Africa in 2020, the government is advocating for the training of more certified nurse midwives staff.

Certified nurse midwives assist women throughout pregnancy and during birth, offering prenatal care and sequential gynecological checkups. They work similarly to gynecologists and obstetricians but are unique since they give personalized and holistic care to individual mothers. They work in hospitals, birthing centers, health clinics, and hospices.

12. Pain Management Nurse

Average monthly salary: R91,167

Pain management nurses physically assess patients to determine the severity of their pain and diagnose it accordingly through bona fide pain relieving medication. They record patients’ medical history, and in cases of extreme bone injuries, they might suggest constructive examinations such as x-rays.

Since some pain killers such as opioids are addictive and cause additional side effects like drowsiness, pain management nurses help patients with alternative pain management techniques, for example; acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, and massage, in a bid to slow down the usage of the so-called ‘street painkillers.’ They work closely with oncologists, orthopedic surgeons, obstetricians, and other physicians.

13. Nurse Researcher

Average monthly salary: R91,000

Nurse researchers play a crucial role in revolutionizing the health care sector in South Africa by conducting research and clinical trials on new treatment methods for human diseases to come up with a better way to prevent and treat them.

Types of nurses and their latest salaries in South Africa


The work of nursing research helps improve the overall health of human beings. They work in hospital laboratories and research centers available countrywide.

14. Nurse Administrator

Average monthly salary: R90,833

Nurse administrators oversee the organizational side of healthcare settings because they are part of the management team. They ensure that other nurses and hospital staff play their duties in line with specific objectives and goals that ensure patients get the best care.

They can be facility managers, IT managers, health information managers, and human resource managers, developing strategies for recruiting and employing new employees. In South Africa, the average monthly salary of nurse administrators is R90,833, translating to about R1,090,000 in a year.

15. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Average monthly salary: R90,000

Gerontological nurse practitioners (GNPs) are holders of a postgraduate degree in Geriatrics after studying the aging processes of human beings throughout their life cycle. They are multidisciplinary social scientists who foster the well-being of senior citizens in South Africa and are also policymakers as they investigate the changes arising from the aging population.

They teach patients and caregivers better ways to handle the elderly while monitoring and managing age-related conditions such as back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and many more.

16. Nurse Educator

Average monthly salary: R89,167

What type of nurse is most in demand?

Nurse educators are teachers of nurses who have advanced degrees and a deep understanding of the nursing curriculum to teach the next generation of nurses at colleges and universities. They guide students through the core and elective clinical rotations, teach clinical skills, and award certification following legal and ethical practices to maintain professionalism in the nursing profession.

These highly skilled personnel have adept teaching skills and can educate the community on health issues or work in hospitals alongside physicians and other specialists.

Concluding – the above are the types of nurses and their updated salaries in South Africa. There are many career options in the nursing field. If you are looking for one that fits you perfectly, choose what you connect with and love for an enjoyable and rewarding career. Success!