Anatomy of the Stethoscope (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 Hi. Welcome to our respiratory video series.

    00:03 In this one, we're gonna talk about the auscultation of the respiratory system.

    00:08 Now first of all, let's break down the anatomy of a stethoscope.

    00:12 Were you not so excited when you got your very first one? This is what starts to make you feel like a healthcare professional.

    00:20 So let's start at the very top.

    00:22 Now we've labeled these with numbers one, two, three, four, and five.

    00:25 I wanna explain what each one of these do. Now, number one is the eartips.

    00:30 These are the tips that fit into your ears. Think of them like the earbuds of the stethoscope.

    00:35 Now, they need to fit snugly because the goal is that they block out all the ambient noise in the room.

    00:41 That'll help you focus on the patient's breath sounds, heart tones or bowel sounds.

    00:46 Now, these come in lots of different sizes, shapes and even colors.

    00:51 So make sure you get a pair that is comfortable for you.

    00:55 Now, I like the soft, squishy kind. I think they block out sound better.

    00:59 They're more comfortable in my ear.

    01:00 Some people like the really hard ones but those bother my ears after a shift.

    01:05 So I prefer to have soft, squishy.

    01:08 But try out different kinds, find out what's most comfortable for you.

    01:12 Now, number two is what we call the ear tube. Now, the ear tubes are metal.

    01:17 They help carry the sound from the flexible tubing to the ear tips to your own ear.

    01:23 So they're usually metal, usually silver.

    01:26 But, you know, we get crazier colors every day.

    01:29 Now number three is the tubing.

    01:31 This is usually the part that you'll see have the theme or the color or the pattern.

    01:36 But this is the part of the tubing that's very flexible, comes in different colors.

    01:40 And some stethoscopes have two tubes, they're called double tubing, twin tubing or some have two lumens inside one tube.

    01:50 So they actually have two tubes, but it only looks like one on the outside, they're considered double lumen.

    01:56 Others, they're usually a little more inexpensive how the two rubber tubings that come from the earpieces and the ear tubes down to the bell.

    02:05 Okay. Number four, that's looking at the stem.

    02:09 Now, it depends on what type of stethoscope you have.

    02:12 The stem is the piece that connects the flexible tubing to the chest piece.

    02:17 On some of those, you're gonna use that -- the chest piece will spin on that.

    02:21 In others, it's stationary.

    02:23 So the chest piece is the part of the stethoscope that that's where it all happens. Right? That's where the sound is picked up and then transmitted back up to the ear piece.

    02:34 So the chest piece is a part of the stethoscope that you place on the patient.

    02:39 Some stethoscopes have one side that incorporates the bell and the diaphragm.

    02:44 Others have a -- has both separate sides, you know, flip it.

    02:47 One side for the bell, one side for the diaphragm.

    02:51 Now, the diaphragm of the stethoscope.

    02:54 Now, some stethoscopes require you to flip the chest piece.

    02:57 And some will allow you just to use higher and lower pressure to hear higher and lower sounds.

    03:03 So, if it's one that you have to flip to use the bell or the diaphragm, you'll flip it, place it on the patient, flip it back, place it back on the patient.

    03:11 One note, when I was first learning with these, when you put it in your ears, you wanna test to make sure which side is live before you put it on the patient.

    03:20 Some stethoscopes don't -- you don't have to flip them.

    03:24 It's just by the amount of pressure you put on that chest piece that will determine if your -- can hear higher sounds or lower pitch sounds.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Anatomy of the Stethoscope (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Respiratory Assessment (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Chest piece
    2. Stem
    3. Ear piece
    4. Tubing
    1. Bell
    2. Diaphragm
    3. Tone
    4. Tuning fork
    5. Stem

    Author of lecture Anatomy of the Stethoscope (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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