Stethoscope for CNA class?


I'm starting a CNA class at a hospital next month (yay!), and I'm wondering if I need to/should buy a stethoscope before the class starts. I realize if I was required to, they would have told me, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it just so I could practice BP at home on my hubby (haven't told him yet he'll be my guinea pig!). I've heard manual BP is one of the harder skills to learn, and the better the stethoscope, the easier it would be. So, before I drop a bunch of money, I wanted to get some advice from other CNA's, especially on what kind would be good if I do get one. And does the type of cuff matter, or are those all pretty much the same? Thanks for your advice!!:bow:

I started my CNA class last week and my teacher gave me a stethoscope. So you might want to wait to buy one because you might receive one from your instructor like I did. It's been really helpful because I've learned how to take blood pressure manually and to do that you need a stethoscope (as you probably know already). It's not that hard, actually. It just depends on the person's pulse and how strong it is. Now as to which brand to get, I'm not exactly sure on that one. I threw the box that my stethoscope came in away! :p But if you're taking a class at the hospital, you might want to ask some nurses (if you know any there) that work there to see what kind they use and how they like it. I hope you enjoy your class like I do mine!!! :D


118 Posts

I would say since you are doing a CNA course at a hospital I wouldnt buy a stethoscope. More than likely they will have more than enough in the clasroom. Also they may show you how to take vitals on other little gadgets. I'm a CNA and we dont take BP's with a stethoscope. We use a wrist gadget that takes the BP and pulse all in one. Its so much easier to use with the elderly and faster than listening to a pulse with someone who may have dementia or moves alot. I would wait until class starts and see what type of gadget they teach you on.


29 Posts

Thanks so much for the info. I really appreciate it!


66 Posts

Specializes in CNA, SPN, LPN.

I am currently starting the third week of CNA training. They provided

a really cheap single head stethoscope manufactuer is medline. I purchaced a double tube sprague style by prestege medical. Cost $19.00

A couple of the girls in class used the cheap one then use mine.

They said they could hear much better with the double tube.

So I guess the theory is, buy one but not too nice as it may grow legs and

walk off somewhere.:twocents:



86 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

I didn't buy a good one (Litmann Cardio III) until I was accepted into the RN program. I work at a hospital, and we usually use the dynamap (unless it's a funky BP, then I always do a manual & advise the nurse of both #'s). I sometimes float to another unit that 'banned' the machines & all BP's are done manually. So it doesn't hurt to have a decent one. Before I bought mine, I would usually use one of the nurses scopes.

I caught a break when I started CNA classes, my school's bookstore mismarked the scope/cuff combo in a bag set for $12.50, when it should have been like $60.00. I didn't think the scope was all that great, but for $12, I'm not going to complain. It's cute though, purple Garfield & Odie cuff & carry pouch, the scope is plain purple.

cjcsoon2bnp, MSN, RN, NP

8 Articles; 1,156 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I would say go to class first and find out if you need one. If you do need one you can usually find a decent one for like $20 - $25 and that is good enough for what you would need to use it for as a CNA. I was issued one in my class (it was like $8) but it was really junky so I went out and got the next model up. It cost me $22 and is a double tube kind with adult and pediatric settings and although its not top of the line or anything it works well. I wouldn't go crazy if you need to buy one but just get something decent and keep an eye on them as someone else said they tend to grow legs.

!Chris :specs:

Specializes in MSN, FNP-BC. Has 8 years experience.

I think a scope is handy to have around to practice with. I have a scope that I bought while I was taking the CNA class. I've been out and working in a hospital now for a year and a half and I can probably count on one hand how many times I've used it to take a manual pressure. Usually when we have to take a manual we need it now and I borrow one of the RN's scopes (they have nice ones that make it easy to hear the sounds) and I make sure I clean it and give it right back to them.

The only time I would consider buying a good scope is when you're going into nursing school and you need to really hear those heart and lung sounds but even then, the school may provide one for you as part of tuition.:nurse:

The scope I bought is a cheap one. I only paid $30 for it.

So in the long run, I'd save the good Littman for a graduation present or if the scope the school provides you sucks, then it would be worth the money.


111 Posts

I'm starting a CNA class at a hospital next month (yay!), and I'm wondering if I need to/should buy a stethoscope before the class starts. :bow:

First of all, you don't NEED a stethoscope and BP cuff unless they tell you and I can't imagine that being the case. For the class, you will get a little exposure and explanation as to how these things work and they'll supply some for you to learn with - but it's not an extensive lesson.

Now for me I did buy a stethoscope and BP cuff on ebay and they were fine. Not terribly expensive ($30.00 or so). And I bought another stethoscope at WalMart because I thought the ebay one was defective. Turns out I was putting the earpieces in my ears backwards. And when you do this, they don't work well :rolleyes:. Live and learn.

casi, ASN, RN

2,063 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

You don't need one, but they are fun to have for practice. I bought a steth/bp cuff combo and found it came in handy as I and my parents have blood pressure issues.

If you are interested in getting one I would hit up an online uniform shop (Marcus Uniforms, Jasco Uniforms, Lydias Unforms, Life Uniforms) and pick up the cheapest set they have.


111 Posts

You don't need one, but they are fun to have for practice. .

I agree they are fun to practice with. I also think it's a good skill to know. I bought mine before I started my NA class so I had a little experience. When they instructed us in the use of the BP cuff and s'scope, I felt a little more comfortable because it wasn't all new to me.

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