How to Wear a Stethoscope the Right Way
How to Wear a Stethoscope? Is there a Right Way?
A stethoscope is an indispensable piece of equipment for any medical practitioner.
It can be used to detect heart murmurs, auscultate lung sounds, measure blood pressure, and assess bowel sounds.
If you are new to the medical field, you may be confused about how to use your stethoscope correctly.
Even if you have been a healthcare professional for some time, it never hurts to have a refresher.
The following will examine how you should wear a stethoscope to ensure optimal performance.
Positioning the Earpieces:
Here’s the deal…
The first step in using a stethoscope is to ensure that you have the ear pieces positioned correctly.
You should place the earpieces into your ears gently.
You should then twist the tips so that they angle slightly forward toward your nose.
This will allow you to create a tight seal so that you can focus on the sounds transmitted by the stethoscope.
The ambient noise in the room should become faint when the earpieces are positioned correctly.
Your stethoscope probably came with a package containing multiple ear tips in different sizes.
You should try the different tips until you find the pair that provides the best seal and that are the most comfortable.
Holding the Stethoscope for Use:
Holding the chest piece of the stethoscope incorrectly can create extra noise that can interfere with your auscultation.
If you follow the proper way to use a stethoscope, you’ll hear all the sounds crisp and clear.
You should hold the chest piece between the index and middle fingers of your dominant hand.
You should not grip the chest piece with the tips of your fingers since this can create extra noise.
You should also keep your thumb under the tube to prevent it from rubbing against the skin.
You will get the best sound transmission if you use gentle pressure to apply the chest piece directly to the patient’s skin.
If you are in a rush, you can place the chest piece over thin clothing.
However, you are more likely to hear noises from the clothing rubbing against the diaphragm.
This could cause you to miss subtle sounds that may be critical.
The correct stethoscope placement, directly on the patient.
Carrying Your Stethoscope When Not in Use:
The majority of healthcare professionals end up wearing their stethoscopes around their necks when they are not using them.
A quality stethoscope will be well balanced and should stay in place relatively well.
If possible, you should keep the tubing positioned over your shirt collar since the oils from your skin can cause the tubing to harden.
The friction from rubbing against clothing can cause the chest piece and earpiece fitting to become loose, so you should check them periodically to ensure they remain tight.
You should try to avoid cramming your stethoscope in the pocket of your lab coat or scrubs.
This can twist the tubing and earpieces in ways they were not meant to be manipulated, which can loosen the seals or cause kinks in the tubing that can interfere with sounds.
Diaphragm vs. Bell:
Most quality stethoscopes have a chest piece with both a diaphragm and a bell. The diaphragm is the large, flat side of the chest piece.
The bell is the smaller, concave piece that will have a small hole in it.
The diaphragm is typically used to auscultate higher-pitched sounds, such as lung and heart sounds.
The bell is used to detect low-pitched sounds, such as murmurs and bowel sounds.
In most cases, you can switch between the two components by twisting the chest piece approximately 180 degrees.
You can tap on each side to determine which part is active.
Finally, it is important to clean your stethoscope frequently by using an alcohol pad to wipe the chest piece.
Dirty stethoscopes are a frequent source of patient-to-patient disease transmission.
Tags: how to wear a stethoscope, how to wear a stethoscope around your neck, how to wear a stethoscope in your ears
Categorised in: Stethoscope Guides