nurses not using stethoscopes

  1. new grad here, noticed ALL the nurses on my unit (med surg) do not use their stethoscopes...and just compare their notes to the previous shift notes..... i just bought a new stethoscope and hung it around my neck and the nurse told me to leave it in my bag. so how am i supposed to do assessments???? patient hasnt pooped in 3 days but do you think any of the nurses would pull out their stethoscopes to listen to bowel sounds??..... im still on orientation and i feel like this hospital is making me crazy... i still do my full assessments regardless!
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  2. 104 Comments

  3. by   Kareegansee
    So many nurses fall into habits like this because these actions are tolerated or shared. Another big part of the problem is that they have likely become focused on what they perceive as their "to-do list" and are cutting corners to get things done. They may be understaffed or have high patient to nurse ratios. Medication passes alone are a huge task to accomplish on time and can cause a lot of stress.

    What it takes is the occasional code blue, rush to the ICU, or death to wake people up. The assessment is so important. That level 2 trauma taking frequent PRN Hydrocodone and Dilaudid IVP can wait for his stool softener if it means you will realize his respiratory rate is a little slow (and you probably shouldn't give the softener by mouth anyways!) or that the side his chest tube is on suddenly had decreased or absent lung sounds and he's not actually drowsy, but hypoperfusing.

    Be the exception! Wear your stethoscope and use it! Raise the bar. If you sacrifice your principles (and basic nursing assessment!) in order to conform to the culture of your unit, you will never be a safe nurse.
    Last edit by Kareegansee on Sep 4
  4. by   Wuzzie
    You do you and don't let anybody change that.
  5. by   LovingLife123
    So, the patients never get assessed? How do they do initial assessments. You never chart the previous shifts assessment. You always do your own assessment and chart.

    What if somebody ends up with pneumonia? Or how do they tell if someone is getting fluid overloaded?

    That scares me that none of the nurses on your unit assess patients. Sounds like your unit may have a lot of rapid responses.
  6. by   MJB2010
    You do a full assessment. You listen, you do it correctly now and get into that habit. Do not let laziness get you. You worry about you, and do not worry about the other nurses, they are responsible for themselves. Let this be a lesson to never blindly follow the crowd or believe whats charted, Check for yourself every time.
  7. by   Palliative Care, DNP
    I would like to tell you that this is only an issue with RNs. Unfortunately, during my orientation as a new NP most of the NPs & MDs training me never utilized a stethoscope. However, all charted physical assessments. I was absolutely astonished.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from bxbella08
    new grad here, noticed ALL the nurses on my unit (med surg) do not use their stethoscopes...and just compare their notes to the previous shift notes..... i just bought a new stethoscope and hung it around my neck and the nurse told me to leave it in my bag. so how am i supposed to do assessments???? patient hasnt pooped in 3 days but do you think any of the nurses would pull out their stethoscopes to listen to bowel sounds??..... im still on orientation and i feel like this hospital is making me crazy... i still do my full assessments regardless!
    Unfortunately, that's very common in some places. You're right to ignore it and do your own thing.
    ***Consider writing in proper sentences and using capital letters, too. You want to present yourself as someone with the high standards that you obviously possess.
  9. by   RNNPICU
    Are there strict isolation precautions on the unit? Do all patients have a disposable sethoscope at the bedside? It may be an infection control reason. Some ICUs you can only use the disposable stethoscopes.
  10. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from RNNPICU
    Are there strict isolation precautions on the unit? Do all patients have a disposable sethoscope at the bedside? It may be an infection control reason. Some ICUs you can only use the disposable stethoscopes.
    From the OPs other post, I can surmise that it's a "survival" issue. The wrong corners are being cut by nurses who don't have time to do much of what they're "required" to do.
  11. by   RNperdiem
    I agree with Sour Lemon. It probably is a corner being cut.
    The nurses are likely taking cues from doctors for who basic assessment skills are in decline.
    In my unit, if a doctor has questions about a patient's pulmonary function, they are more likely to pull up the daily x-ray and latest blood gas than they are to use their stethescope.
  12. by   hopess12
    Take care of your license! So, do you, and make sure you aren't following their steps! Stethoscopes are pretty much your other set of ears, I just don't know how you'd do assessments without it!
  13. by   operations
    This is dirty cop mentality. I don't have problems with this because I will very happily make sure the whole unit starts using them or gets fired. I don't respond to "alpha" mentality or any bullying. It doesn't even phase me.
  14. by   akint19
    Thank you everyone for the advice!

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