If you are a medical student or nursing student, youll need to buy a stethoscope. But how much is a stethoscope and what should you look for when purchasing a good one?
You may find it hard to choose a good stethoscope since they kind of all look similar. But they aren’t.
There are many brands in the market, including very cheap Chinese products. Before making any purchase, though, consider the essential parts mentioned above and the features you specifically need in your scope.
Health care practitioners mostly trust the brands of Littmann, Schweitzer, Welch-Allyn, and other classic brands.
Average cost of stethoscope
Affordability is an important factor when deciding on a purchase.
The average cost of a stethoscope can vary widely from the $10 cheap stethoscopes at Walmart to a couple hundred dollar Littmann Master Cardiology.
The wiser factor, however, is price-over-quality. China-made stethoscopes can be as low as $6 to $17, although you may find higher-priced ones, too. These may not be a good buy.
Always look for audibility and reliability. The better-known brands can be had from $95 to over $250, depending on their model and special features.
How to pick a stethoscope
Regardless of the brand and type, all stethoscopes have the following basic parts: earpiece, chest pieces, and tubing.
Choosing what’s best for you then will depend on your occupation. Now, as a nurse, you might want to consider the following.
They must be adjustable and interchangeable. Such features are very handy when you are assigned in emergency departments since stethoscopes are frequently used.
If possible, also choose the ones that have noise reduction feature. In emergency rooms or on trauma helicopters, where ambient noises are usual, the noise reduction feature may be very helpful.
Most importantly, choose the ‘comfortable’ earpiece. Whether you’re assigned in the emergency department or elsewhere, you will be using your stethoscope for years. So make sure to select the one that provides you the utmost comfort.
They come either with single head or double heads. A single-headed chest piece has the diaphragm and bell both on one side, while the double-headed chest piece has the diaphragm on one side and the bell on the other.
Your choice will depend on your ability to recognize high and low frequencies. They are also available in different sizes, from 25-mm pieces appropriate for small children, to 35-mm or 45-mm pieces for use on adults.
If you deal with different age groups of patients, choose chest pieces that can be interchanged.
Most health workers prefer longer tubing, often as long as 28 inches, because it keeps them at a safe distance from very sick patients.
Try the tubing for flexibility. A stethoscope that coils easily can be conveniently stored; it will also be more durable than less elastic ones.
Tubing can have small or big diameters, single- or double-bored, or two tubes combined into a single-tubing (a.k.a. bi-lumen).
A stethoscope that has wide, double-bored, or bi-lumen tubing, affords more superior sound quality than the basic tubing styles.
For nursing students, it is best to inquire from the school about the specifications of stethoscopes that are allowed to be used for the whole curriculum.
Most schools do not allow their students to use the electronic types; the same holds true about blood pressure cuffs.
If there are no restrictions, however, consider other special features beyond the basic acoustic stethoscope.
For instance, electronic stethoscopes are useful for practitioners who need features such as sound amplification, noise elimination, and special data recording.
Many of these stethoscopes interface well with other electronic equipment and share the data recorded.
High-end acoustic stethoscopes capture, not only the basic heart beats but cardiac, respiratory and abdominal sounds, as well.