Stethoscopes are a vital part of the health care profession. As an acoustic device for auscultation, they are used to listen to heart and lung sounds, intestines, and blood flow in arteries and veins.
There are many different types of stethoscopes to choose from, including the acoustic stethoscope which operate on the transmission of sound, and the electronic stethoscope which electronically amplifies sound. This review will focus on the best stethoscopes for nurses and nursing students: in particular, the Littmann Lightweight, Littmann Classic, and the Littmann Cardiology.
What makes the best Stethoscope for Nurses?
When considering what makes the best stethoscope for a nurse, it really depends on the type of role a nurse has. For example, if you’re working with children, it’s ideal to have a stethoscope which is made for pediatric professions. Pediatric stethoscopes differ from say cardiology stethoscopes or standard adult stethoscopes which is why it’s so important to define your most significant role.
In cases where nurses are working with many different types of patients, it can be helpful to carry a general adult stethoscope but ensure the hospital has at least a communal stethoscope for certain patients.
What makes the best Stethoscope for a Nursing Student?
If you are a nursing student and a little bit unsure about what exactly you will be doing in terms of type of nursing, it’s best to pick up a standard issue stethoscope. I believe it’s important to have a high-end stethoscope when training to be a nurse as the pressure of nursing school can be tough enough let alone if you have to deal with a faulty stethoscope.
Keep in mind that high quality stethoscopes do not necessarily need to be the most expensive stethoscopes. A great stethoscope from a top company can be found for great prices and it’s just a matter of finding one which will meet your needs as a nursing student.
Functionality is key
No matter what, you want to ensure that the stethoscope you do end up purchasing is functional for a variety of situations. No matter how specialized you think you may be, compared to doctors and cardiologists, the chances are you’ll need a stethoscope which will be suitable for a variety of patients. In all of our reviews, we took functionality and versatility as the most important factors which is why the following three stethoscopes made our list for best stethoscope for Nurses and Nursing students.
- 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
The 3M Littmann Lightweight is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com, and has a 4.4 rating out of 5 starts. With good acoustics, the innovative design of the Littmann boasts exceptional performance at an affordable price. As a device usually warn throughout the day, one of its cherished features is its lightweight physique, making it comfortable to carry around. The soft rubbery earpieces offer a satisfying fit and seal outside noise, while the non-chill rim will be appreciated by your patients. This model retains Littmann’s tunable diaphragm, letting you toggle between low and high frequency sounds. It is available in black, cell blue, green lilac and sea foam green. Retail price around $57.00 but can be found on Amazon.com for 20% less.
When it comes to hearing the most discrete of breath sounds or murmurs, the acoustics aren’t as clear and precise as the Classic or Cardiology.
- 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope
The Classic received 4.7 stars out of 5 stars for its comfort, precision, and impressive acoustics. “I can hear everything from lung sounds to the faintest BP over my obnoxiously loud Horton ambulance on the road…” (Unknown) Comfort is assured with an angled, anatomically correct headset, and tight soft sealing ear tips. The classic comes in a variety of colors, comprising, black, cell blue, green lilac, pink, and sea foam green, this stethoscope is the most popular among nurses. It is well suited for beginning and experienced nurses alike. You can purchase the Classic ll on Amazon.com for approximately $70, about 30% less than the regular retail price.
I found that the pink color option advertised isn’t actually as vibrant, and the plastic tubing can stain from general use.
- 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope
The Cardiology received a 4.7 rating out of 5 on Amazon.com. The Cardiology lll is arguably the best Stethoscope for nurses and medical professionals. With impressive top-notch acoustics, and a comfortable fit, the innovative design and versatility lets you easily switch from adult to pediatric. It also features a dual lumen to eliminate interference caused by the tubes rubbing together, and an anatomical headset. Like the other Littmann Stethoscopes, the Cardiology lll comes with the non-chill bell. It is available in a few colors, including black, brown, gray purple and chocolate. The superior quality and durability is built to last, making the instrument a worthwhile investment. It retails at $200 but typically sells on Amazon.com for 26% less.
It is heavier than the Classic and therefore may be difficult to carry around your neck throughout the day. Be cautious that if warn in direct contact with your skin the tubing will stiffen and eventually crack. You can purchase a vinyl protector or be sure not to wear it in direct contact with your skin.
The Littmann Stethoscopes have been around since the late 1960’s and have been offering high quality acoustics ever since inception. Whether you are a nurse, nursing student, or doctor, the Littmann stethocopes are a superior product that won’t disappoint.