Do I need a pediatric stethoscope?

  1. I am a new nurse and I start my first nursing job tomorrow. I will be working in pediatric home health, and my assigned main client has numerous diagnosis's that require hourly assessment of heart and lung sounds. Right now I have a Littmann lightweight ii SE and I plan to upgrade soon but I don't know which stethoscope will suit my career in peds best. Cost is not an issue since I want only the best for my kiddos. I know the answer is probably get a peds stethoscope but I've read lots of articles saying the cardiology stethoscopes deliver better sound than a pediatric stethoscope. So if anyone can point me in the right direction i would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   akulahawkRN
    What I'm going to say is that first of all the stethoscope that you have is going to be perfectly adequate for what you need. However, it is possibly not going to be the best stethoscope for the job. Personally I use a Cardiology III stethoscope and it's major claim to fame is that the stethoscope had rotates from pediatric to adult. My understanding is that they no longer make the Cardiology III stethoscope anymore but you can find it on the Internet still. They replaced it with the Cardiology IV stethoscope which offers the same basic functionality. As far as using a cardiology stethoscope versus a "standard" stethoscope, I would suggest that unless your ears are very well accustomed to listening to a stethoscope, you might not be able to greatly appreciate the difference in fidelity between the stethoscope varieties.

    I have used $12 disposable stethoscopes, the Littman lightweight, the classic II SE, in addition to the cardiology stethoscope I have. In particular, I have used all of these in nearly every typical environment, from the roadside to the bedside. I can certainly tell the difference in the fidelity of all of those,, and I can use all of those in place of another but if I need to have the highest fidelity possible, I'm typically going to go for my cardiology stethoscope first.

    I am not going tell you not to get a Cardiology IV stethoscope, they are awesome. What I am going to say is that the Cardiology stethoscopes will do very well for what you want, and they do have a pediatric side and an adult side and the performance from either will be quite good. It is up to you to decide if you're willing to spend as much as the Cardiology IV is listed for, but if you can find a Cardiology III stethoscope, you will get comparable performance for about half the price.
  4. by   PixieRN1
    I've been a lifetime NICU (8 years) or Peds ICU (7 years) (large cardiac transplant and whole organ transplant unit as well) nurse for 15 years. Like the previous poster, I used the Cardiology III regular old adult sized and love it. NICUs supply their own premie stethoscopes.

    I'm in psych nursing and getting my MS and LSATP to be a substance abuse counselor now and, yes, I still use it.

    At the start of my career, I bought a top of the line specialty peds stethoscope, and honestly, unless you have a premie or a newborn, it's really still too small to do much good. On babies, you can't really chart upper, middle, and lower breath sounds anyway, because the noise reverberates across all lung fields. By the time they are big enough to discern a difference between lobes, the big stethoscope is able to tell the difference anyway, just fine.

    Best of luck.

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