One of the most important must-haves for nurses that work in the ER or ICU unit is a stethoscope. The quality of stethoscope you have will determine how quickly and accurately you can pick your patient’s heartbeat, blood pressure, and breath sounds. For this reason, you need a quality nurse stethoscope.
There are dozens of nurse stethoscopes on the market. You have to think of the brand as well as the model of stethoscope you would like to buy. If you do not research well, you could end up with a standard stethoscope that would not perform to your expectations.
In this guide, we review the best stethoscopes for ICU (Intensive Care Unit) or ER (Emergency Room) nurses. But before we get to the review, let’s go through some things you should consider before buying a stethoscope.
Best Stethoscopes for ICU & ER Nurses: What to Look For Before Buying
Below are important things to consider before buying a stethoscope:
You need a simple but high-quality stethoscope for ER or ICU nurse. In your line of work, you will be dealing with life-threatening situations when you have to work fast and with multiple instruments concurrently. The last thing you want is a stethoscope that is difficult to set up or that will get in the way of other gear you may be using, for example, a sphygmomanometer.
Consider the foldability of the ‘scope you want to buy. For example, dual-tube stethoscopes are not easy to fold and, hence, may not be the best option for ICU or ER nurses.
You can easily keep a foldable stethoscope in your pocket so that you won’t have to carry it around your neck the whole day or night.
Stethoscopes that have large ear tips can be quite uncomfortable. Therefore, check that the stethoscope you want to buy has the right size ear tips. A good option is to buy a stethoscope that comes with extra ear tips of varying sizes.
You’ll be carrying the stethoscope with you for most of your shift. Therefore, you want a lightweight stethoscope that will not make your neck tired. Moreover, the stethoscope should be easy to carry in your nurse scrub pockets.
Finally, consider whether you are allergic to any materials that may be used to make the stethoscope you want to buy. Most of the best stethoscopes are made from specialized plastics, nickel, and latex. If you are allergic to any of these materials, confirm that your ‘scope is made of BPA-free and non-latex materials.
Now that you know what you should be looking for in an ICU or ER stethoscope, it’s time to look at the options available.
Review of the Best Stethoscopes for ICU & ER Nurses
There are many stethoscopes brands and models on the market. As a result, choosing the right one can be quite a challenge. To make your work easier, we have found the best stethoscopes for ER and ICU nurses on the market.
In our review, we consider the product features, price, durability and customer reviews of the stethoscopes. Below are the best stethoscopes for ICU nurses:
The MDF Stainless Steel stethoscope has a dual head. The stethoscope has a 25-inches tubing and that ensures you get accurate vital sounds from your patients. The tubing is made from thick, latex-free PVC that is resilient and kink-proof. This tubing seals out ambient noise and provides insulation for high-quality sound transmission.
The headset of the MDF One is made from stainless steel and comes with transparent silicone ear tips. The ear tips are well-shaped to conform to the anatomy of your ear and effectively seal out unwanted sounds. You can also easily see any dirt on the ear tips and remove them since they are transparent.
The chest piece of the MDF stainless steel stethoscope is handcrafted and durable. The stethoscope comes with two extra ear tips (small and large sizes) and an extra ultrasensitive diaphragm.
This stethoscope for ICU nurses is available in 17 colors.
As implied by the name, the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. stands out for being lightweight. The stethoscope has a 28-inc tubing that is durable and resilient to constant folding. This is one of the best stethoscopes on the market.
The stethoscope has a tunable diaphragm that can detect both low and high frequently vital sounds. You simply need to apply some pressure on the diaphragm to detect the kind of sounds you would like. The chest piece is shaped like a tear, which makes it easily fit under the blood pressure cuff. Therefore, this stethoscope can also be used to check blood pressure.
This stethoscope features an ergonomic design and its ear tips conform well to the shape of your ear. Therefore, you will not feel uncomfortable even after wearing the ear tips for a long time. The stethoscope has quality acoustics and, therefore, you can be sure of getting all the vital sounds you may need to check.
The stethoscope is sold with a 2-year warranty and will last for several years. It also comes in 7 different colors.
The 3M Littmann Classic II SE is not just another nurse stethoscope. This device is well-made, lightweight, and comes in a compact design that makes it easy to carry around.
The ‘scope has a dual-side chest piece that easily picks all the important sounds you would need. The high acoustics of the stethoscope ensures that you get the information you need when measuring the vital signs.
The chest piece can pick both high and low-frequency sounds. You simply need to apply some pressure on the diaphragm based on the sounds you would like to listen to. For high-frequency sounds, press the diaphragm firmly. For low-pressure sounds, press the diaphragm gently.
The 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. has a 28-inch foldable but resilient tubing. The tubing does not kink even when you fold it tightly into your pocket. The tubing is not made from natural latex rubber and hence does not trigger allergic reactions.
The 3M stethoscope has snap-tight, soft-dealing ear tips that are comfortable to the ears. When you wear the ear tips, they provide an excellent seal.
If you like to express your personality through the nursing gear you use, the Classic II S.E. comes in 17 different tubing colors. For the chest piece, you can choose from four different colors.
The Littmann stethoscope comes with a 3-year warranty. However, it is highly durable and will last more than 3 years. This explains why most nurses prefer the stethoscope.
Editors’ Verdict: Best Stethoscope for ER & ICU Nurses
The above are the best stethoscope for nurses that work in the ICU or ER unit. We especially love the MDF One Stainless Steel for its excellent acoustics and extra accessories. This unit will last long, does not kink and is lightweight.
If you prefer to go with the well-known Littmann model, the 3M Lightweight Classic II SE is our top recommendation.