Why dont nurses use stethoscopes to listen to lungs and heart?

  1. I guess I think too much and always will do. I have a question that has posed in my lil brain wondering why I dont see Nurses use stethoscopes to listen to heart or lungs in the medical.surgical wards. I got taught in first year of nursing 'Clinical Health Assessment' that covers all the assessments of the anataomy. Wonder why it gets taught but its never used in reality. I guess its more used in Emergency Department.

    Unlike shows say Scrubs, where I see the nurse wear a stethoscope around her neck??????

    Do nurses in general surgical and medical wards, have a sthethoscope to use and listen to patients chest?

    Very curious
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Yes. Nurses use their scopes to listen to heart, lung. and bowel sounds, and also to listen to fistula/graft bruits. I use my scope many times a day.

    Nurses use their scopes many more times per day than docs do, in my experience.

    Where did you get the idea that they don't?
  4. by   TweetiePieRN
    In nursing school I always saw nurses using them. Even now, I have never seen a nurse NOT use them. I ALWAYS use it! There is no way to hear without it unless someone would have superpowers I would guess Is this post serious?
  5. by   Tweety
    I have always worked med surg and my stethescope is always around my neck. I do listen to heart, lungs, bowel sounds on every single patient. I thought every med-surg nurse did.
  6. by   nursemaa
    Everywhere I have worked, nurses do a head to toe assessment on every patient at least every shift (more often for some patients), which includes auscultating heart and lung sounds using a stethoscope. Same for all new admissions. Where have you NOT seen this done?
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Hmmm - to the original poster....can you give us an example of when you have seen a nurse NOT assessing the patient? Then maybe we could explain further. Thanks.
  8. by   AussieKylie
    Well because I live in Australia and have finished all my practicums. The only time I see a nurse using a stethoscope is for BP. I have mostly been on medical and surgical wards. So maybe its different in Australia to North America. I just wanted to know the Northern Hemisphere perspective.

  9. by   TweetiePieRN
    To the OP: Now, I am curious! Could you ask one of the nurses who don't use a stethoscope how they assess the heart, lungs, and bowels? Could you post your answers? Maybe there is another technique we don't use over here in the US.
  10. by   hrtprncss
    I use them but they're never on my neck...it's a nuisance.
  11. by   luvmy2angels
    *Note to self-Do not have surgery in Australia* Just a little joke, but seriously no matter what dept you work in you should be assessing pts, and being lung, heart and bowel sounds are MAJOR parts of an assessment the nurses should be using a stethescope. I carry mine around my neck all the time. Are you actually WATCHING the nurse do an assessment without a stethescope or are you assuming they don't because you don't see them around thier necks?? I just ask this because a lot of nurses use the clip bands that hold the stethescope onto the waistband of thier pants. Just a thought.
  12. by   WSU_Ally_RN
    Where I work I have seen MANY nurses just re-documenting what the previous nurse documented about their patients. There are many times where I have been with a preceptor, and never saw them with a stethoscope on them, let alone to listen to their patients with! This is SO unsafe! Pt's status can change so suddenly...
  13. by   talaxandra
    Where I work about half the nurses have their own stethoscopes, and the rest use the ward stethoscopes. I listen for bowel sounds, chest sounds, BP, and fistula bruits.
  14. by   sirI
    Quote from wsu_ally_rn2b
    where i work i have seen many nurses just re-documenting what the previous nurse documented about their patients. there are many times where i have been with a preceptor, and never saw them with a stethoscope on them, let alone to listen to their patients with! this is so unsafe! pt's status can change so suddenly...
    and, that type of practice is a moral, ethical, and legal issue....an absolute travesty.

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