Stethoscope dilemma - need advice

  1. I am a nursing student and I need to purchase a stethoscope. I know many people recommend Littman's, which I might get in the future, but for now, I have narrowed down my choices to about 3 cheaper ones. I could use some help comparing them, so if anyone has any comments, they would be greatly appreciated! I am looking at the Prestige Medical sprague, spraguelite, and dual-head sprague. I like the idea of the spraguelite being smaller and lighter, but the 5-in-1 option of the traditional sprague looks handy also. And I don't understand the difference between a dual-head stethoscope and one that comes with different size bells and diaphragms. Also, the dual-tubing versus the single-tubing as well as tubing length is another thing to consider. I think I would like to be able to hang it around my neck, even though some say that isn't good. And how do you choose the right eartips? I have already looked at a ton of websites that sell stethoscopes and have read some people's opinions, but I am still overwhelmed and confused. Does anyone own any of the 3 that I am considering? Please help!! :uhoh21:
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   fierymom
    The prestige sprague would be fine for auscultating sounds in the first few semesters of nursing school. You would do even better if you went into a store that will let you try a few different ones out. Then, pick the one you can hear the clearest and loudest out of. The bell styles are not as important if you aren't hearing the sounds well. Good luck with school
  4. by   mcknis
    wagvan,
    I am also a nursing student so I know what your are currently going through. This forum is the best that I know of, so you have def come to the right place. I own knockoff brand of the sprague, and they are good stethoscopes for the money. You can't beat the classics. Look around your clinical sites (if in clinicals, or go to hospitals and watch the nurses there) and see what the actual nurses are using, and not just the other students. I use a knockoff Littmann (ADC) and it works just as well as, if not better than the Littmann that I own. I also own a Littmann Cardiology 3 stethoscope because I wanted to hear everything best the first time around, and not have to guess at anything. For what you do in school, go with the best for your money. Ask some other students if you can try theirs out and ask the RN's or LPN's if you can try theirs out. Everyone likes something different. I work with RN's who use the cheap, cheap, cheapo $3 single head scopes, as well as RN's who use the most expensive Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope. Everyone likes something different, but just make sure you know how to auscultate heart, lung, and bowel sounds, and you can also get a BP and apical pulse. If you can do those effectively with your scope, then its good. Make sure you listen on many different people (10+) to make sure you can do all those things listed above on each of them. I found out my expensive scope sounds the same as my cheapo $3 scope on my body, so that is why try them on many different people.

    Good luck in your decision and throughout your nursing career.

    mcknis
  5. by   mcknis
    I forgot to tell you the type of scopes I have. My ADC 603 is the version of the Littmann Classic 2. I have compared it with several other Littmanns and it still can stand up to their standards (and its even a little heavier). I have a cheapo $3 scope that I would only use for an apical pulse, and BP. Not much else use for it. My school uses the old single head nurse scopes in lab and clinical, and I think they work just as well as my ADC. I have a dual-head sprague that works just as well as my ADC, and last but no least, my Littmann Cardiology 3, which is the best and most expensive. I hear things more amplified and clearly than any of the others. All stethoscopes are great scope, but you have to be the one who wears it.
  6. by   dmskoka
    what is a dual head. I just got accepted into a school and they suggest Littman dual head
  7. by   dmskoka
    I believe it is one where the instructor and student can listen at the same time? ahh I think that I found it.. Would you also suggest getting a regular one as a student
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from dmskoka
    I believe it is one where the instructor and student can listen at the same time?
    I suspect you're mistaken.

    A "dual head" stethoscope has 'two heads':
    1. A 'Diaphragm' - transmits high frequency sounds
    2. A 'Bell' - transmits low frequency sounds

    A good majority of the stethoscopes sold in the market today have the option of being 'dual head' - one can 'switch' between the 'Bell' or the 'Diaphragm' as the need may arise (in many cases, simply by flipping the head piece).

    Quote from dmskoka
    Would you also suggest getting a regular one as a student
    If that is what your school recommends/requires [a dual head]... then that is what I would purchase.

    Personally, I've been using Littman's Classic II as a student and also as a nurse since I graduated.
    I have not felt the need nor desire to own a more sophisticated stethoscope.

    cheers,
  9. by   kellykelly
    I suggest springing for the Littman right off the bat. I've had mine for ten years (husband got it for me as a present for graduating from nursing school) and I wish I'd had it for nursing school. Everything is so much clearer through a good stethoscope. I've got a Classic II SE, I think it was called. On occasion I've forgotten mine and had to use one of the cheapo ones we've got on the floor...everything was so muffled through those that I could barely hear lung sounds. My dual-tubing sprague type I used in nursing school is also nothing compared to my Littman. I've never noticed enough of a difference between mine and a Master Cardiology to make the extra money worthwhile, though. I think you'll be happy with most any Littman you choose.
  10. by   newohiorn
    I would buy a Littmann or other high quality stethoscope right off the bat. I didn't want to spend a lot when I started nursing school either so I bought a Littmann off of e-bay and I'm still using it 4 years later.
    Last edit by newohiorn on Feb 15, '09 : Reason: typos

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