The Nurse’s Guide to Buying a Stethoscope


Nursing is by far one the most demanding positions within the entire medical field, as nurses can see up to hundreds of patients in a single day with little time in between for breaks. When working at that volume, every nurse needs to have a stethoscope that is reliable and trustworthy, so that they can properly monitor the health of their patients. Read on to learn about the best ways to navigate the different options available so that you can find the perfect stethoscope for a nurse.

Focus on Ease of Use

Ease of use is incredibly important when it comes to the ideal stethoscope for a nurse, because you are most definitely going to be using it quite a bit across a wide range of activities. You are most likely going to want to avoid any models that feature bulky or outdated chestpieces, as there is simply no reason to select a model that doesn’t offer a dual head as well as interchangeable attachments to help you better perform diagnostics.

Also think about the tasks you most commonly perform in a day, such as checking the cardiovascular systems of your patients or monitoring for heart murmurs, as this will help you understand what features can actually improve your use of the stethoscope. When you know think about the most difficult aspects of your use, then you can prioritize models that solve your issues.

Think About Overall Comfort

Comfort is very important in a stethoscope, both when using the tool or simply wearing it around your neck. Always try to find a lightweight model, as this will help prevent fatigue as well as the slow, long-term damage to your ears that can come from extended use. Soft eartips are also very important to the health of your ears, as they are less likely to damage the cartilage and offer protection to your eardrums.

Similarly, you will want to look for a stethoscope that has an ergonomic headset, with the appropriate curves on the ends so that the eartips fit into your canals at the right angle. If the eartips go too far into your ears, or don’t sit properly, it can cause damage and interfere with your ability to process the sounds from the patients.


Keep Durability in Mind

Most nurses are going to be putting stethoscopes through a lot of use, which means taking them on and off repeatedly. Many stethoscopes include a spring bar that connects the left and right sides of the headset through the middle, which helps to pull the ends together and create a strong seal when you wear it. However, this bar can wear out in some models over time, making the entire unit ineffective. Look for models with a strong, reinforced mechanism in the center to increase the lifespan of the stethoscope.

More Functionality Is Better

Any additional features that the stethoscope offers are usually going to help you out in the long run. A tunable diaphragm, for example, that allows you a broader range through which you can listen to high and low frequency sounds, means that you can do more with a single tool and thus perform more accurate diagnostics and tests. Also, the presence of any chestpiece attachments for the diaphragm and open bell can also help increase the ways in which you can use the model.

Don’t Forget About Personality

Even though durability, comfort, and usability are extremely important, you should also remember to choose a model that matches your personality. Stethoscopes are available in many different colors without having any impact on their performance, meaning that you can coordinate them to match your scrubs or simply so that you have one in your favorite color.