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Stethoscopes

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by Stacy127_11 Stacy127_11 (New) New

Hi there! I am a new grad who recently accepted my very first position in the PICU! I was wondering if a pediatric stethoscope is worth the investment. I plan to stay in peds for awhile and I currently have a Littman Classic II stethoscope that I really like. Any suggestions? Also I'd love recommendations on where to buy and recommended accessories! Thanks so much for your help!

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

I'm not sure how the unit you're going to work on does things, but on my unit we're expected to use unit-supplied stethoscopes, patient-specific. They're not the highest quality, and are reprocessed after the kiddo is transferred out. One thing that I've noticed about using my own personal stethoscope, with all the disinfecting it gets, is that the tubes deteriorate fairly quickly. The Littmann is a great piece of equipment, but I'd suggest you wait until you've started orientation to decide to buy or not.

The previous poster is right, before you spend, find out what the practice at that particular PICU is. Just out of school, you probably don't have a lot of money to spend, so don't get carried away. Your current stethoscope may serve quite well. If not, you can buy later, knowing better then what you need.

I spent 26 month at Seattle Children's in Hem-Onc and on the adolescent unit, as well as floating to most other units, although none of the ICUs. Neither I nor the nurses I worked with felt a need for anything more than a basic model. It was the residents, particularly the male ones, who considered a pricey stethoscope a status symbol. "Look, I am an MD" and all that.

One night on Hem-Onc we had a little two-year-old boy with a large abdominal tumor and a sky-high blood pressure that wasn't helped by the fact that he was terrified of hospital staff and screamed whenever we came near. I did my best to get his blood pressure from his thin, spindly arm, but told the resident that the numbers were iffy. Not satisfied, he went in with his pricey stethoscope and came out a minute later to borrow my cheap one. Then, having tried both, admitted that he could do no better.

The boy later settled down and learned to trust us, so taking his BP got much easier. Unfortunately, his tumor was too far advanced for us to be able to do him any good. Very sad. His poor, overwhelmed single mother couldn't get the medical system to pay her son any attention until it was too late.

--Michael W. Perry