Contact SANC Contents Links
Nurses Rights
Home Up HIV/AIDS Policy Nurses Rights Transition to HE Adv Practice Medicine Policies


The Rights of Nurses

In carrying out his/her duty to patients, the nurse operates within the ethical rules governing the profession and his/her career scope of practice.

The confirmation of the rights of the nurse is therefore not an end in itself, but a means of ensuring improved service to patients.  To enable the nurse to provide safe, adequate nursing, he/she has the right to:

  1. practise in accordance with the scope which is legally permissible for his/her specific practice;
  2. a safe working environment which is compatible with efficient patient care and which is equipped with at least the minimum physical, material and personnel requirements;
  3. proper orientation and goal-directed in-service education in respect of the modes and methods of treatment and procedures relevant to his/her working situation;
  4. negotiation with the employer for such continuing professional education as may be directly or indirectly related to his/her responsibilities;
  5. in the case of a registered person, equal and full participation in such policy determination, planning and decision-making as may concern the treatment and care of the patient;
  6. advocacy for and protection of patients and personnel for whom he/she has accepted responsibility;
  7. conscientious objection, provided that:
bulletthe employer has been timeously informed in writing
bulletit does not interfere with the safety of the patient and/or interrupt his/her treatment and nursing;
  1. refuse to carry out a task reasonably regarded as outside the scope of his/her practice and for which he/she has insufficient training or for which he/she has insufficient knowledge or skill;
  2. not to participate in unethical or incompetent practice;
  3. written policy guidelines and prescriptions concerning the management of his/her working environment;
  4. refuse to implement a prescription or to participate in activities which, according to his/her professional knowledge and judgement, are not in the interest of the patient;
  5. have disclosed to him/her the diagnosis of patients for whom he/she accepts responsibility;
  6. a working environment which is free of threats, intimidation and/or interference;
  7. a medical support or referral system to handle emergency situations responsibly.

In addition to the above, the nurse is entitled to his/her rights in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and relevant labour legislation; provided that the exercising of such rights does not put at risk the life or health of patients.

South African Nursing Council acknowledges that nurses have rights too


Quick Links

Annual Fees 2018
(How much and how to pay)
SANC Spotlight (newsletter)
Details of NEW 
Nursing Qualifications
Policies and Position Papers
Dates of Council Meetings 2018
Nursing Strategy for SA 2012-17


2004 - 2018 South African Nursing Council (Under the provisions of the Nursing Act, 2005)