Nursing has to be one of the most fulfilling careers for people who want to work in the medical profession.

It is a blend of science and technology, with the art of caring and compassion. Nurses are some of the most indispensable professionals in the medical field.

There are great advantages to being a nurse because, once qualified, there are many different areas of specialisation.

Didaxis, a division of eDegree and a specialist in the delivery of assessment and training, has been appointed to assess student competencies of Netcare Education's entry-level applicants to test numeracy and literacy, or communication skills in a context relevant to nursing.

This process will ensure a higher calibre of entry-level student, optimise their chances of success, and contribute to a successful career.

Assessments are conducted as part of Netcare Education's academic selection process for all entry-level nursing programme applicants.

Didaxis general manager, Nombulelo Tolom, said: "The assessment programme is totally focused on the South African culture and needs.

"Care has been taken to ensure that assessments are culturally fair and unbiased.

"Students are assessed and scored at a level for each skills area, pinpointing areas of strength as well as the areas where applicants require improvement," he said.

"The assessment tools are designed and aligned with the South African Qualifications Authority unit standards and because the individual's performance is affected by his or her comfort and confidence levels, a non-threatening, supportive environment is created to obtain a true reflective result," said Tolom.

The tool assesses a student's entry readiness for study and workplace training at the required National Qualification Framework levels on the nursing programme. For example, in maths, the assessment does not focus on assessing formal mathematical knowledge, but aims to uncover information about people's understanding of numbers, problem-solving skills and their knowledge of how to work with numbers.

Communication competency in English as the language of learning and training is essential for success in a learning programme.

While many candidates are ready for training at the required level in the technical areas of a qualification, their language skills in English are often at a much lower level.

This can cause problems in relation to dealing with learning material and acquiring new skills and knowledge in relation to programme outcomes. Pre-assessment results can alert the training provider to potential problems in the training process so that the necessary steps can be taken to address this shortfall.

Didaxis provides Netcare Education with a full report on each candidate and offers one-on-one consultations with unsuccessful candidates to discuss their results, strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.

Netcare Education's Gauteng South West campus manager, Toy Vermaak, said: "Netcare Education has recently contracted Didaxis to develop and pilot an academic preparedness programme, which is primarily targeted at unsuccessful applicants. After attending the academic preparedness programme, students would then re-take the assessment.

"Portions of the academic readiness programme may also be used as remedial curricula for students who are struggling academically with their nursing studies," said Vermaak.