How to Wear a Stethoscope Correctly: Björn Hall Stethoscope
Hello everyone, Nurse Jenny here!
Today, I am going to teach you how to properly use a stethoscope.
When I first started nursing school, I can remember being handed a stethoscope and then going straight to taking blood pressures. No one actually told me how to how to put on a stethoscope correctly. If somebody did, I sure don't remember it!
I went on using my stethoscope like that for almost two years. I didn’t even realize something was wrong. So, when someone actually told me how to do it properly, not only was it an aha moment, but I learned that I could hear so much better the correct way!
Steps on how to wear a stethoscope correctly:
Position the stethoscope in front of you with the large part of the diaphragm facing you. This is the default position of your stethoscope if you will be using it frequently for adult patients.
Make sure that the binaurals are pointing away from you and not towards you. This is because our ear canals are facing towards our face, not sideways and not backward.
Put on the stethoscope and readjust the binaurals until the ear tips are sealed properly in your ear canal so that you cannot hear outside noise anymore and all you can hear is what you're listening to through the stethoscope. You can try different sizes of ear tips to achieve this seal because our ear canals are different from each other.
Adjust the tension of the stethoscope by pushing the binaurals together or pulling them away from each other.
You shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort in your ear.
That’s the short and simple way to properly use your stethoscope. So, if you ever see a junior nurse wearing it the wrong way, please correct them in a nice way because the nurse who corrected me probably thought I was an idiot for using it wrong that whole time.
And if you also have a junior nurse coming to you saying they can't hear this patient's blood pressure, ask them what stethoscope they are using because if they are using the cheap ones, it is really difficult to hear from those. And then, ask them how they're putting on the stethoscope into their ears because they might be putting it the wrong way. It will save you a trip to that patient to double-check and the junior nurse will have learned a lesson.
Putting on a stethoscope into your ears may seem pretty basic and pretty obvious, but I think, from personal experience, I’d say that people get it wrong all the time. And now that you have learned how to properly put it on, why don’t you learn next how to properly care of and clean your stethoscope here.
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I'll see you in the next one and remember, listen with your heart.