Sunday 09/04/2016 Hi all STETHOSCOPES I remember when I first started training and only the Doctors had Stethoscopes that they hung round their neck like a badge of honour and all Nurses had to use the one in the ward. One of the things I hate is when I am on a Doctors round and they ask if they can use my Stethoscope. I am very fussy about keeping the earplugs clean. The easiest thing to lose or have stolen. Stolen not by choice but because Heath Professionals forget who they borrowed it from and we forget who borrowed it in our busy duties. One of the things that I find hard to understand is that there are many in the wards for use by all and have seen many Health Professionals just pick one up to use and not clean it before or after. I had a bit of a reputation on night duty that all Stethoscopes got cleaned and hung up. Its not hard to work out that they should be cleaned between each patient with an alcohol swab, to prevent cross infection. As I say that it is recommended that the tubing should be cleaned with soap and water. I have cleaned some of my stethoscopes with alcohol swabs and it made the tubing go dull and one set go sticky.
There are two types of Stethoscopes one for Pulmonary and one for Cardiac Patients. The Diaphragm is used for Pulmonary patients as it picks up high pitched noises and the Bell for Cardiac Patients as it picks up low pitched sounds. A good quality Stethoscope gives better hearing. Stethoscopes come in a varied price range and you need to ascertain how much you can afford. In some Hospitals I have worked in they Purchase cheaper ones for the Isolation Units so they can be disposed of on discharge of the Patients.
The next thing you have to think about is are you going to use it for Paediatric or Neo-natals. The small chest pieces provide a more narrowing sound which makes better diagnosis for the babe or infant. You will find most Paedricians have these, but as we get more Nurse Clinicians we are getting a more variety on cost on these also.
There are many Brands of stethoscope and are all of great value. I use a Littmans and it seems to be one of the more popular brands. There are Stethoscopes with duel heads for teaching purposes and attachments for eg hanging tape, stethoscope name tags, children's novelty tags. There is also jewelery available with stethoscope lapel pins, charms for bracelets and embroidery squares.
Even way down here I watched the television show called "The View" and listened to the comments made about the Colorado Nurse who was ridiculed for wearing a Stethoscope. What a sad indictment on Society when we have so called Celebrities making fun of someone who is so proud of her profession. Come the Day when they need medical assistance. Shame on "The View". That is why we as Health Professionals need to support each other.
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See you all next week
Stay safe and well