Tips on listening to heart/lung sounds

Nursing Students Student Assist


I just started Nursing School in late August, and I am having slight difficulty hearing heart and lung sounds. I mean, I can HEAR heart sounds, I just don't know what exactly I am hearing (Like, is it the pulmonary valve? Apical pulse? WHAT IS IT?! Lol) and I can't hear lung sounds at ALL. I am pretty discouraged about this--do any of you RN's out there have some tips?

Bumping this old topic because I have the same problem! I never thought hearing the sounds could be as hard as it is sometimes, and it is so frustrating and upsetting to me when it seems like my peers just get it right away.

I guess my Littman Lightweight is decent enough, I just think it's my ear canals, honestly. I ask God, "If you wanted me to become a nurse, why did you give me 'bad ears' to not hear heart and lung sounds accurately with?!" Haha! But God doesnt make mistakes and I know He wants me to be a nurse so I just go with it. Mike R, your info seemed really helpful. Are you an RN?

THIS. The first thing I did that improved things for me SO much was to switch my earpieces. I believe the Littmann stethoscopes come with an extra pair in the box, a pair that is smaller than the ones on the stethoscope. Try the smaller ones. They really helped for me.

Here are other things that help me:

-Make sure room is quiet

-Elevate the bed and the head of the bed

-Make sure earbuds are in well (see above ;)

-Make sure nothing hanging on stethoscope

-Ask patient to lie on left side

-Begin at apex

-Landmark the sternum and sternal borders

Hope that helps. I'm very tempted to buy the Master Cardiology too.... ;)

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