Helping You Make the Best Investment In Your Career

Do you need help choosing the best stethoscope for a nurse?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not only physicians that use stethoscopes. As a nurse, you also require a stethoscope for the work you do.

With it, you can listen to various sounds in the body such as heartbeats, breathing rates, and chest sounds. You will use a stethoscope to help with diagnosis of various conditions and diseases. For example, if someone has a fever, a stethoscope can help determine what type of infection is causing it.

The question is, which is the best stethoscope for a nurse to own?

The Different Types of Stethoscopes

The best stethoscope for you depends on many factors. This includes head type and use. Here is a brief look at the different types of stethoscopes available.

Stethoscopes by Use

  • Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

The Sprague Rappaport stethoscope has two tubes that connect to the chest piece. To connect these tubes, a metal clip comes in between them and is connected separately to the headpiece. This design is supposed to produce a better sound when using it with patients.

  • Cardiology Stethoscope

Cardiology stethoscopes provide sound quality that allows you to distinguish different heart-related sounds. They are available in single-head or double-head chest pieces, whichever your preference might be.

  • Pediatric Stethoscope

A pediatrics stethoscope is almost the same as the classic stethoscope, except that it has a smaller headpiece. The diaphragm is specially shaped for pediatric use.

  • Infant Stethoscope

Infant stethoscopes are designed for use on newborns and babies. They have a small headpiece with a bell that is about 3/4” in diameter. It is lightweight and shaped for easy use during procedures on infants and young children.

Stethoscopes by Head Type

  • Single-Head Stethoscopes

Single-head stethoscopes provide a wide and clear frequency sound output. This lets you concentrate on high or low-frequency sounds. A single-head stethoscope is recommended for general use, such as taking vital signs.

  • Dual-Head Stethoscope

More versatile than a single-head stethoscope, a dual-head composes the diaphragm and the bell. The diaphragm picks up high-frequency sounds more effectively, while the bell is perfect to listen to low-frequency sounds.

  • Triple-Head Stethoscope

Triple-headed stethoscopes are designed to allow for accurate monitoring of heart sounds. Because they are expensive and heavy, triple-head stethoscopes are usually only used for critical cardiac cases.

Special Types of Stethoscopes

  • Hearing-Impaired Stethoscope

Designed for use by hearing impaired professionals, this stethoscope amplifies sounds without picking up external noise. It can be plugged into an external tablet, tape recorder, or earphones.

  • Electronic Stethoscope

The use of electronic stethoscopes can result in better sound quality. However, they are inconvenient for emergency use because they must be recharged, which can take some time.

What to Consider When Purchasing a New Stethoscope

A stethoscope is not a luxury or an item that can be bought on impulse. It must be fit for purpose and fit for you. Here are the main considerations to make before making this investment in your nursing career:

  • Earpiece

You want an earpiece that is comfortable and non-irritating to your ears while in use, and it must produce a crisp and clear sound.

  • Chest Piece/Head

When it comes to choosing the chest piece, stainless steel is best. It conducts sound well and strongly, and is highly durable.

  • Tube

The tube should be made from thick material like polyvinyl chloride and should be crack-resistant. This will also help it to avoid kinks and cracking. Makes sure that it can be easily folded for storage.

  • Diaphragm

The diaphragm should be air-sealed and made for a flexible material such as PE compound or resin. A non-chill rim will provide a better patient experience, especially for pediatric works.

How to Choose the Best Stethoscope for a Nurse

Choosing a stethoscope for a nurse is not an easy task. There are many factors that come into play to find the best stethoscope for your nurse such as quality, cost, features, and brand name. The seven considerations you should make are:

1.     Consider the Work You Do

The work you do and the patients you tend is the primary consideration when choosing a stethoscope.

2.     Check the Rules of Your Facility

The facility where you work may have specific expectations of equipment used by their nurses. You should always check if this is the case.

3.     Be Sure Your Stethoscope Is Comfortable

When choosing a stethoscope, it’s important that you consider the type and feel you prefer. Just like shoes for nurses, your stethoscope should be comfortable for you.

4.     Don’t Neglect Stethoscope Weight

Continuing with the theme of comfort, carrying a heavy stethoscope around does weigh on you (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!). Again, you should consider usage and think about how the stethoscope will sit in your pocket.

5.     Remember the Stethoscope’s Parts

Take time to inspect all the parts of a stethoscope. Soft and sealed ear tips. Stainless steel chest pieces to conduct sound most effectively. Durable tubing. Make sure, too, that some spare parts are included, or that parts are easily replaced.

6.     Buy as High-Quality as You Can Within Your Budget

You must consider your budget and the type of stethoscope you need. If you are financially flexible, there are many choices out there. If you have a smaller budget, then opt for a less costly model and ensure it does an excellent job. Most importantly, stick to quality brands, follow the above tips, and make a wise investment in your career.

7.     Ask For Recommendations!

If you are still not sure about which stethoscope to buy, ask for recommendations from colleagues. Or get in touch with QS Nurses. We’ll be happy to take your call and share our experience – and that of our nurses – with you.