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Distinguishing Devices

Contents:

bullet What are distinguishing devices?
bullet What do the  distinguishing devices look like?
bulletDistinguishing devices for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives/Accoucheurs
bulletDistinguishing devices for Enrolled Nurses and Enrolled Midwives
bulletDistinguishing devices for Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries
bullet Who may wear distinguishing devices?
bullet Who may purchase distinguishing devices?
bullet Who may sell distinguishing devices?
bullet Ordering distinguishing devices
bulletFuture developments regarding distinguishing devices
bulletDistinguishing Devices order form

What are Distinguishing Devices?

Distinguishing devices are the epaulettes and badges worn by nurses and midwives that indicate the capacity or capacities in which the wearer is registered or enrolled.

Each of the different devices (or different coloured devices) indicates a category of practise - the full implication whereof is probably only generally well understood by others in the health care industry.  Among the general public, the devices have become a well known symbol that the wearer is a professionally qualified nursing or midwifery practitioner who can be trusted to provide top quality health care.

The various distinguishing devices are prescribed in three sets of regulations depending on the capacities in which the individual is registered or enrolled.  Click here to see the regulations.

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What do the Distinguishing Devices look like?

The distinguishing devices consist of different coloured epaulettes, different coloured bars, different coloured badges, and a brooch.  There are very specific rules for the wearing of the devices - please read the regulations if you are not sure what these are.

Please note that colours do not appear the same on all computer screens.  The colours in the pictures below may appear quite different to the colours of the actual devices.  

Distinguishing Devices for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives/Accoucheurs:


Maroon epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered General Nurse.


Navy blue epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.


Dark saxe blue epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered Mental Nurse.


Light saxe blue epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered Nurse for Mental Defectives.

  (unfortunately no yellow epaulettes are available for a photograph)
Yellow epaulette and Council badge are worn by a Registered Fever Nurse.


Mauve epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered Sick Children's Nurse.


Green epaulette and Council badge worn by a Registered Midwife/Accoucheur.

A Registered nurse / midwife / accoucheur may be registered in more than one category.  In such cases, he /she must wear the specific colour epaulettes prescribed in the regulations for such persons.  One or more of the following coloured bars must be attached to the prescribed epaulettes:


Navy blue bar worn if the person is also a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.


Dark saxe blue bar worn if the person is also a Registered Mental Nurse.


Light saxe blue bar worn if the person is also a Registered Nurse for Mental Defectives.


Green bar worn if the person is also a Registered Midwife / Accoucheur.


White bar worn if the person is a Tutor (holds a qualification in Nursing Education).


Silver bar worn if the person holds a qualification in Nursing Administration.


Yellow bar worn if the person holds a qualification in Public Health Nursing (Community Nursing Science).


There are NO BARS prescribed for Fever and Sick Children's Nurses.

The following is an example of the distinguishing devices that would be worn by a Registered Nurse (General, Psychiatric and Community) and Registered Midwife:


Registered General Nurse = Maroon epaulette and Council Badge
Registered Psychiatric Nurse = Navy blue bar
Registered Midwife = Green bar
Qualification in Community Nursing Science = Yellow bar

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Distinguishing Devices for Enrolled Nurses and Enrolled Midwives:


 White epaulette and maroon badge worn by an Enrolled Nurse.


White epaulette and green badge worn by an Enrolled Midwife.


White epaulette and half maroon / half green badge worn by a person who is both an Enrolled Nurse and an Enrolled Midwife.

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Distinguishing Devices for Enrolled Nursing Auxiliaries:


Brooch worn by an Enrolled Nursing Auxiliary.
(NB:  Sometimes, the blue enamel used on this brooch is so dark that it appears almost black!)

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Who may wear Distinguishing Devices?

Only qualified nurses, midwives, and accoucheurs who are currently registered or enrolled with the South African Nursing Council may wear the applicable distinguishing devices.  In fact, it is compulsory that the devices MUST be worn if the person is on duty.  There are however some exceptions to this rule - for full details see the regulations.

In terms of the Nursing Act, 1978 it is a criminal offence for anyone else to wear the distinguishing devices.  This is interpreted as broadly as possible and would, for example, include the wearing of the devices by an actress playing the part of a nurse in a film or stage production.  Actors, models, film makers, stage show producers and people involved in the advertising industry are warned that it not permitted for a person who is not entitled to wear the distinguishing devices to do so.

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Who may purchase Distinguishing Devices?

Only qualified nurses, midwives, and accoucheurs who are currently registered or enrolled with the South African Nursing Council may purchase distinguishing devices.  A person may only purchase those distinguishing devices applicable to the capacities in which he/she is registered or enrolled.

A person may not purchase more than three sets of any particular distinguishing devices at a time.

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Who may sell Distinguishing Devices?

Distinguishing devices are only available for sale from the South African Nursing Council .  Manufacturers of the distinguishing devices are appointed by the Nursing Council and they may only supply the devices that they manufacture to the Nursing Council .  It is a criminal offence for any other person or organisation to sell the distinguishing devices.

Please note that in terms of these restrictions, it is also not legal for a registered or enrolled person to buy distinguishing devices on his/her own name on behalf of another person.

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Ordering Distinguishing Devices

You may order distinguishing devices from the Nursing Council by post or by fax.  You may also purchase distinguishing devices in person at the Nursing Council offices.  In all cases, you must fill in and sign the applicable Order Form for Distinguishing Devices.  Because you must sign the form, no-one else may do this on your behalf.

If you send someone else to the Nursing Council to collect the distinguishing devices, you must also give them a letter, signed by you, authorising them to collect the devices on your behalf.  This letter must indicate your own full names, Nursing Council reference number and identity number and also the full names and identity number of the person who you authorise to collect the distinguishing devices.

Anyone purchasing distinguishing devices over the counter must be able to provide positive proof of identity (identity book or passport, NOT driver's licence).

You can download a copy of the order form by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

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Future Developments Regarding Distinguishing Devices

A new system of distinguishing devices has been proposed by the Nursing Council .  The draft regulations for the new distinguishing devices were published for public comment  on 28 July 2003.

(Click here to see draft regulations.)

The South African Nursing Council has considered all the feedback received and has made final recommendations to the Department of Health for the publication of the new regulations.

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Distinguishing Devices Order Form

Document Name Type
Order form for distinguishing devices

 

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