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Stethoscope

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by araew2129 araew2129 (Member)

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My wonderful.mother-in-law has offered to buy me a gift for nursing school to celebrate having been accepted into all the nursing programs I applied to! I will be starting in the fall. Looking into what I need, I am thinking of asking for a stethoscope as I know quality ones can be costly. I have picked out a Littman Classic III or a Littman Cardio IV. I know the classic is what most people get, but would you get the cardio if you could? She gave me a budget of $200, both of these being under that. And obviously I would like to save her money, but if the cardio is better for long-term use, maybe I should get it now (as it is still under budget)? What do you all think? Or is there another item I should be considering altogether (shoes, backpack, ect)?

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171 Visitors; 29 Posts

I have not decided yet either, but I will point out that the Classic III comes with a 5 year warranty, where the Cardio has a 7 year warranty.

If you decide on the Cardio, you may want to spend the extra couple of bucks to buy it from a place that will engrave it with your name. There's a ton of these places online ( mystethoscope.com allheart.com ect) I've seen it mentioned on several different sites that it does not void the warranty. Those places tend to be a little more expensive than amazon, but a lot of them have a better selection.

If not, the basic black Classic III is on sale for only 66 bucks on amazon right now.

Maybe you can pick that up AND some sweet nursing shoes 🙂

Edited by morbidlycurious

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2,083 Visitors; 313 Posts

The classic is fine for most people although I don’t love it.  The cardiology iv is a very nice upgrade.  Having said that you might not appreciate it as much if you don’t use the classic for a while. ;) 

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10,752 Visitors; 1,002 Posts

Congratulations on acceptance to nursing school and what a wonderful in-laws you have..

I have used the cario III for years and love it.... however some things to consider for your 1st stethoscope....

1) I would recommend your 1st to have an actual diaphragm and open bell. You really need to learn the different sounds. While scopes like the cardio iii can hear the sounds meant for the bell, it does so by different pressures being applied and it's a learning curve that depends on you already knowing what to listen for. The cardio iv does have the option to convert the ped diaphragm to a true open bell.

2) I wouldn't recommend spending a great deal on a 1st scope. It will take time for you getting used to keeping track of it and they do tend have the ability to disappear quickly. Often times they may be in the way around your neck while preforming procedures and you will lay them down somewhere and simply forget to pick them up... later in the shift when you are going to assess breath or heart sounds you go to grab them and then realize you have laid them down somewhere and can't recall exactly where or someone has already picked them up and walked away.... or you loan them to someone and they can absently minded put them around their neck or lab coat and move on...

Best of luck and enjoy your experiences in nursing school. 

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1,833 Visitors; 398 Posts

On 5/27/2019 at 7:02 AM, 203bravo said:

Often times they may be in the way around your neck while preforming procedures and you will lay them down somewhere and simply forget to pick them up...

This is why cargo pants are the greatest thing.  I keep mine in my pocket and only take it out when I actually need it, which as a student is hardly ever

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WanderingWilder is a ASN and specializes in Med-Surg.

4,020 Visitors; 382 Posts

I have a cardio iv and a classic iii. I actually like the classic iii better. I can hear as well as with it as I can with the cardio iv and but its lighter. You can take the diaphragm off of the bell side to make it a traditional bell just like with the cardio iv. I'd save the money and get the classic iii. 

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gere7404 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiac.

5,074 Visitors; 459 Posts

I've also got both. The classic III is a great all around stethoscope. The cardiology IV is way more sensitive and can be overwhelming for a new student to discern what they're hearing because you can hear EVERYTHING with it -- I'm talking things like hearing bowel tones when auscultating for lung sounds. I've been working on a cardiac floor the last six months, so the cardiology has been nice... I can hear murmurs and clicks and the like other nurses can't with their stethoscope. 

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2,496 Visitors; 330 Posts

3 hours ago, gere7404 said:

I've also got both. The classic III is a great all around stethoscope. The cardiology IV is way more sensitive and can be overwhelming for a new student to discern what they're hearing because you can hear EVERYTHING with it -- I'm talking things like hearing bowel tones when auscultating for lung sounds. I've been working on a cardiac floor the last six months, so the cardiology has been nice... I can hear murmurs and clicks and the like other nurses can't with their stethoscope. 

This what I was afraid of! I'm leaning to the classic III because of this. 

Thank you all for your input! 

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bugya90 has 7 years experience.

8,080 Visitors; 544 Posts

I started out with the classic III. I used it through nursing school and my first 6 years of practice. The tubing finally wore out 2 years ago and I had to get a new one and opted for a lightweight classic II which is more than adequate for my job now.

The classic III can be a little heavy around your neck so I would suggest cargo pants so you aren’t having to wear it all the time. I would also suggest having your name engraved on it as stethoscopes tend to walk away. 

Ive used a cardio one and an electronic one before. Both are really nice but I wouldn’t suggest either for a student. They pick up every little sound and as a student it can be hard to distinguish what you are actually hearing. The Classic III is great for a student or a nurse on a general med sure unit. Once you finish school you may need to upgrade if you end up on a specialty unit like ICU, Peds, etc

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45 Visitors; 2 Posts

I am in my final semester of an ADN program. I use the Littman Classic III, and have had no problems identifying murmurs and adventitious Lung sounds. I do utilize the tunable diaphragm, but have had to provide literature to professors to support my practice (they will want you to use the bell to auscultate murmurs). I would recommend the Classic, though I do not have experience using the cardio.

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Ferocity specializes in sleep.

78 Visitors; 7 Posts

Let's us know how it goes okay 🙂

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1,153 Visitors; 47 Posts

I'm not sure of the point in getting a really great stethoscope for school, except maybe as a graduation present. During school you'll sometimes have to use the school's scopes, like when you use double scopes so the teacher can listen in, and it seems like a good idea to learn to use plain-jane ones first... so you don't *need* an excellent one to do your work. Does that make sense?? (I mean, it's really sweet of your aunt to get you one--but maybe also get a cheapo one, too!)

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