Equipment question

Specialties CCU

Published

Seems like a silly question but im asking anyways. Do you find it necessary to have an expensive fancy stethoscope when working at a cvicu/ccu sort of setting? Mine isn't by any means a cheap or junky stethoscope (littman master classic II) and it cost me i think around 110 dollars. I noticed most of the nurses i saw had even more advanced stethoscopes than this. Is it a necessary investment and why? Or will a decent 100 dollar stethoscope do the trick? Thanks for your help

anurseuk

140 Posts

Specializes in Paediatric Cardic critical care.

We have basic stethoscopes at every bed space on my unit. We don't have any complaints and the Dr's use the same :)

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ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

That one is fine. Practice makes you better at auscultation, not a fancy stethoscope. For ICU you mainly listen to breath sounds and bowel sounds.

I love my Master Cardiology scope. I have had it for over ten years and it has only walked away once or twice (which is a pretty major feat). It sounds weird, but I like how it fits in my ears better than the Spragues.

I suggest that you ask your coworkers why they have a fancy stethescope- perhaps it is because we are becoming the "Hearing loss generation" in thanks to Ipods. :selfbonk:

Specializes in Anesthesia.

Your scope will work just fine. Besides, the cheap $5 ones that come on the isolation carts have to make do for those patients - do you think the hospital will compromise a pt's health for a few bucks...? :D

BBFRN, BSN, PhD

3,778 Posts

Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research.
That one is fine. Practice makes you better at auscultation, not a fancy stethoscope. For ICU you mainly listen to breath sounds and bowel sounds.

In CVICU, you do also want to be able to hear valve sounds, but the MCII works well for that, too.

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ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

Well, "mainly" it's lung and bowel sounds. You are right, but in reality, not many nurses are good at listening to heart sounds, although it's great to be able to.

The other thing to consider is the tunable diaphragm versus traditional diaphragm/bell scope. I am useless at the tunable thing (different pressures to make it a diaphragm/bell) and prefer the traditional.

I have a DRG Puretone Cardiology which I like so far. Just got it recently as I'm a cardiac specialty NP student and my master classic littman wasn't cutting it.

BBFRN, BSN, PhD

3,778 Posts

Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research.
Well, "mainly" it's lung and bowel sounds. You are right, but in reality, not many nurses are good at listening to heart sounds, although it's great to be able to.

Good point. :up:

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ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

I *LOVE* your avatar! Haha...!

JustMe

254 Posts

That one is fine. Practice makes you better at auscultation, not a fancy stethoscope. For ICU you mainly listen to breath sounds and bowel sounds.

In the Coronary Unit you should also learn to listen to heart sounds. The stethoscope you describe is good for this purpose. I'll never forget the 38 yr old male I admitted who was having chest pain. No EKG changes or changes in enzymes. But apparently nobody listened to his heart. When I assessed him in the Unit I heard a LOUD murmur. Called in the cardiologist STAT and got a STAT echo. He had veggies on 2 valves. He got a helicopter ride to a bigger med center for double valve replacement that day. Went home in 5 days. Whew!!:redbeathe

melloyello

4 Posts

Specializes in ICU, cardiac, SICU.

I think that any mid-level Littman stethescope is fine. I have auscultated lung fields through very expensive stethescopes and really do not hear much of a difference. Frankly I think using a stethescope is like driving our own car---we become accustomed to our own stethescope and learn to hear what is relevant or irrelevant when listening to someone. I actually prefer my very own mid-to-upper level Littman over the fancier ones!:up:

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