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Friday, September 19, 2008

RTs need a quality, reasonably priced stethescope

Since we RTs are the lung experts, it's important that we have a good stethoscope. And that's why I arm myself with a Litman.

I remember when I was a student I had a cheap one I bought at Walgreens, and it worked fine while I was a student. But one day I decided to splurge and buy a Litman, and the first time I went to use it I could really tell the difference.

With a Litman (or any quality stethoscope), you can hear things that you simply cannot hear with a cheap stethoscope. And, being the lung experts, it's important that we RTs are armed with the best stethoscope possible.

I can't remember what I paid, but I think it was something like $120 or less. If I were recommending a stethoscope to a student, I'd recommend a Litman that is of a reasonable price. I don't think there is much of a difference between the $60 version and the $300 version.

Also, you must realize that a stethoscope doesn't last forever, especially since you will be using it often. And the warranty only lasts so long.

I think the bell broke on my first one, and I sent it to the Litman company a week before the warranty ran out, and they gave me another 2 year warranty. So, if your warranty is ending soon, you might want to consider getting it fixed if you were thinking about it.

A few years later I noticed the casing of the stethoscope was really hard. Then it cracked. Then I learned this happens because you wear it around your neck. The oils in your neck get into the material of the scope, and it hardens.

So I got this fixed and got another 2 year extension on my warranty.

When I got it back I decided to carry it in my pocket instead. I actually liked this method of carrying it better than wearing it around my neck, because I hate wearing things over my neck.

But then the ears of the stethoscope got snagged on a door handle, and my lab coat ripped. This has happened many times.

Then, one day, after the warranty finally ran out, I got it snagged on a door handle and the metal part snapped. So, then I used a warped stethoscope because I'm too cheap to buy a new one.

Finally my wife splurged and bought me a new one for my birthday a few years ago, and now the new one is wearing out and in need of repair.

So, the moral of my story here is this: you need a good stethoscope, but don't spend to much on it because you may need to replace it eventually.


Unknown said...

Good to know! Thank you.

I start my clinical rotations next month and I was interested in the Littman Classic II SE...

Anonymous said...

I always tell our visiting RT students at the hospital where I work that it's not what you put on your ears but what's between your ears that matters.

Although I do remember one particular student who had lung sound mp3's loaded on his iPod...
I told him, follow me on the floors and listen to real live patients and leave that stupid thing behind!

Anonymous said...

I recently read an article (I wish I could remember the journal) talking about the dying art of the stethascope. I've seen too many docs, nurses and RT's listen to 2 or 3 spots and diagnose based on other clinical data like x-rays and lab results. It seemed the auscultation part was just for show. A lot can be learned from a good listen.