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Short Course
Ophthalmic Nursing
The School of Nursing Sciences, NWU (Potchefstroom Campus) has expertise in the field of ophthalmic nursing. The course will provide knowledge and evidence regarding skills and techniques needed in ophthalmic nursing science. This course will provide integrated knowledge and engagement in physiology and anatomy related to ophthalmology and a critical understanding and application of the knowledge in ophthalmic nursing to successfully manage the patient. Accurate knowledge is critical for the correct treatment of the ophthalmic patient. Ophthalmic Nursing is a specialist field that focuses on comprehensive eye care for the promotion of eye health and the prevention of visual impairment and blindness. An Ophthalmic Nurse Specialist is a Professional Nurse with an additional qualification in Ophthalmic Nursing and is registered as such with the SANC (COMPETENCIES FOR OPHTHALMIC NURSE SPECIALIST This is a short course for Staff Nurses and Professional Nurses working in eye care services. It will not lead to registration with the SANC as an Ophthalmic Nurse clinical specialist. The clinical sector indicated a need for training in this multi-disciplinary field to increase their knowledge and skills with regards to ophthalmology of the pre-hospital and hospital environment.

Purpose of the course:

This is a continuous professional development course. The course is primarily vocational, with a strong industry-oriented and clinical health focus. The course also serves to provide students with the basic introductory knowledge, cognitive and conceptual tools and practical techniques for higher education studies in the field of healthcare science. It emphasises selected general principles together with more specific procedures and their application. The course signifies that the attendee (student) has attained a basic level of higher education knowledge and competence in the particular field of healthcare and is capable of applying such knowledge and competence in the workplace. This course is designed to equip you with basic knowledge and skills in ophthalmic nursing to enable you to provide safe, quality care to patients in eye wards and operating rooms where ophthalmologists perform eye surgery. Core values of caring, personal and professional competence, ethical conduct and respect will be emphasised. .

Admission requirements:

Admission requirements: 
A minimum of the National Senior Certificate or equivalent is required for consideration of admission into the course. Registration as healthcare professional with the relevant healthcare statutory body is required for healthcare professionals working within any of the relevant multi-disciplinary team roles. Experience in the course subject field, and working in an eye care environment, is an advantage.
Learning assumed to be in place: 
Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology

Course outcomes and assessment criteria :

Course outcomes and the associated assessment criteria: 

Study Unit


Assessment Criteria

Ophthalmic Nursing After completion of this course, participants will: Participant will be assessed on the following criteria:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the eye
  • Identifies normal anatomical structures of the eye and recognizes abnormal structures
  • Recognizes abnormal functioning of the anatomical structures of the eye

     2. Use science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of


  1. Develops and implements eye health promotion strategies, for example;
    • Eye care information brochures
  2. Actively works towards prevention of visual impairment and blindness, for example
    • Effective and appropriate patient education to empower patients to address work-related eye health dangers



     3. Use advanced technologies effectively in the area of specialisation within your scope of practice
  • Basic ophthalmic nursing procedures are implemented competently, for example:
    • Vision screening;
    • Emergency eye care;
    • Removing superficial foreign objects;
    • Counselling.
  • Rehabilitation of visually impaired clients is implemented optimally within real life settings, for example:
    • Activities of daily living;
    • Coping with new environments;
    • Assistive devices;
    • Accessing resources, for example, special training.
  • Quality assurance activities are conducted to enhance quality eye health care services.
     4. Perform ophthalmic nursing skills in primary, secondary and tertiary care settings within your scope of practice
  1. Maintains professional excellence and competence through continuing education and lifelong learning.
  2. Practice is ethical and legal.


Certificate of competency will be issued.
Method of assessment: 
Assessment: Successful completion of learning activities in the course material, such as class exercises, group work and group discussions and well as practice sessions; Clinical/practical portfolio of evidence; To enter the assessment, you must have attended at least two-thirds of the classroom time and at least two-thirds of the time for practicals. Final summative: History taking and conducting a basic eye examination including red reflex detection, gross ocular mobility, confrontation visual field and anterior segment examination. To pass you must have achieved at least 80% for the portfolio and at least 80% for the clinical skills evaluation. You may resubmit the portfolio within 1 week and repeat the clinical skills assessment within 1 week of the first evaluation. Both components must be passed. Failure to meet these criteria will mean re-attendance of the course.

Additional information

Mode of delivery: 
Target group: 
Healthcare professionals working in the eye care environment with a specific focus on eye wards and operating rooms where ophthalmologists perform eye surgery. These include registered nurses and staff nurses.
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