The stethoscope is an acoustic medical device, used for listening to the internal sounds of an animal or human body. A stethoscope has a small disc-shaped resonator that is placed against the chest and two tubes connected to the earpieces. Being a health professional, a nurse must have a personal stethoscope. It serves as the extension of your senses when you are doing assessments. It helps you to listen to the sounds of heart and lungs. It also helps you to listen to the sounds of the blood flow in arteries and veins, and also to the sounds of the intestines.
Nowadays a stethoscope is considered a symbol of a professional nurse. It makes you look trustworthy. Stethoscopes are made up of strong yet lightweight material for hours of comfortable use. A stethoscope can be used for both adults and infants, as the chest piece has a tunable diaphragm. The diaphragm is easy to attach and easy to clean because its surface is smooth without services. Most modern stethoscopes have an interesting common feature that the pediatric side of the chest piece can convert into an open traditional bell by replacing the single piece diaphragm with a non-chill rim. The rubber tubes of the stethoscopes are eco-friendly. They are not manufactured with rubber latex or phthalate plasticizers. These tubes can resist the stains of alcohol and oil. These ear tubes are bendable, flexible, durable and unbreakable.
How to use the stethoscope & tips
Things to consider when buying a stethoscope:
Whenever you are shopping you always buy the products that match your budget. Stethoscopes are affordable and many brands offer at least five years warranty. It’s time to save your buck and enjoy the accuracy of your diagnosis.
There are many types of stethoscopes for nurses available in the market. It is really necessary to learn how they distinguish between each other before you buy one. Let’s have a look at the variety of them:
- Acoustic stethoscope:
It operates on the transmission of sound from the chest piece, through air-filled hollow tubes to the ears of the nurse. Chest piece consists of two sides that can be placed against the patient for sensing sound, the diaphragm is a plastic disc and Bell is a hollow cup. Body sounds vibrate the diaphragm or the bell, creating an acoustic pressure wave which travels up the tubes to your ears. The diaphragm transmits high-frequency sounds and the bell transmits low-frequency Sounds.
It is an electronic stethoscope that measures the Doppler effect of ultrasound waves reflected from different body organs. This stethoscope is suitable for moving objects like a heartbeat, valvular movements and blood flow sounds. Doppler stethoscope is preferable as it has superior detection of impaired ventricular relaxation. Doppler noise immune stethoscope is even more preferable as it can help you with the diagnosis of a patient in loud noise environments.
This type of stethoscope intensifies the level of sound. The conventional stethoscopes had the problem of extremely low sound level. Phonendoscope is preferable than other types of stethoscopes.
- Electronic stethoscope:
Also known as stethophone, electronic stethoscope overcomes the low sound levels, by electronically amplifying them. It has an electromagnetic diaphragm with a conductive inner surface to form a capacitive sensor. The electronic stethoscope is a wireless device, used with computer-aided auscultation programs to analyze the recorded heart sounds.
The smartphone can be used as a stethoscope, by installing some apps. Microphones of your smartphone amplify sound, product visualization and email results. The same app helps you in remote diagnosis by listening to the previously recorded auscultations.
- Fetal stethoscope:
Also known as Pinard Horn, has a shape like a trumpet. It is used to listen to the heart sounds of the fetus during pregnancy.
The second important thing you must consider when you are buying a stethoscope is its structure, which should be comfortable. Choose the one whose headset is easily adjusted for your head size and is comfortable while squeezing together or pulling apart the air tubes. Soft sealing and snap-tight ear tips conform to your ears for an excellent acoustic seal. Select the ones whose ear tips snap on to the ends of ear tubes. It requires enough effort to remove for safety. Choose the stethoscopes with the bendable and flexible tube, that can retain its shape even after folding tightly into your pocket. To avoid neck fatigue, you must buy a lightweight stethoscope. Choose the stethoscope that features full rotation acoustic valve stem with green indicator dot which allows you to easily identify the active sound channel.
The third important thing to consider is durability. Choose the stethoscope that has soft silicon construction, which is phthalate free for durability. Carefully select the stethoscope that is hand polished and has a pre-angled chrome plated brass headset. Stethoscopes that have patented internal dual-leaf spring construction are more durable. Choose a stethoscope that is constructed of denser, thicker, latex-free PVC. Select the stethoscope of which the Y configuration of the tube is long enough and crack proof. The Y configuration ear tube that is made up of stainless steel is preferable as it is flexible, unbreakable and durable. Consider this special feature when buying a stethoscope: a patented internal metal-alloy chamber must be located in the acoustic tube below the spring to keep it open for maximum sound transmission. Select the stethoscope whose earpiece is made from impact resistant acrylic resin.
The fourth thing to consider is the level of sound that your stethoscope can detect or sense. If you want your stethoscope to extend your senses, then be very careful while buying it. Choose the stethoscope that features ultra-sensitive acoustics, ideal for use through bandage or clothing. Your stethoscope must be as capable as to make an accurate assessment through up to ten layers of folded towel. Choose the stethoscope that has adjustable analogue and digital modes. I recommend you buy the stethoscope that also has up to seven volume levels for listening comfort.
Top 20 Best Rated Stethoscope for Nurses