Friday, December 16, 2016

Best Stethoscope for Medical Students

Ever wonder what the best stethoscope for medical school is? Before considering specific models, a medical student should consider several factors:

  • Quality
  • Anticipated Usage
  • Comfort
  • Cost
  • Additional features
First and foremost, the stethoscope should faithfully reproduce sounds originating from the target organ. While the majority of stethoscope usage is for the heart, the device is also used to auscultate the lungs, abdomen, carotid arteries, and other various structures as indicated. A useful device should perform well across this range of indications. 

Anticipated Usage
Do you foresee using this only for required rotations and no more? Or, do you foresee doing a lot of primary clinical work, or perhaps even becoming a cardiologist? If you anticipate having a long-term relationship with your stethoscope, it is better to invest in a higher quality, more versatile device. 

This varies by individual, but if this is something you need to carry around all day, you want to make sure it's lightweight, portable, and sets comfortably in your ears. 

Medical school is expensive enough. While a stethoscope is a great investment, you want to make sure it is the right one for you. The budding cardiologist is likely to get more out of the extra dollar spent than the future psychiatrist. 

Additional Features
Newer stethoscopes now include various extensions, such as smartphone apps or other technology. Each person will have to decide on their own if such items are necessary. 

In the US, the majority of medical students, residents, and physicians using Littmann stethoscopes by 3M. They perform well and have stood the test of time. The overall most common type is the 3M Littmann Cardiology III: 


  • Two-in-one tube design reduces noise interference
  • Dual side chestpiece for adult and pediatric patients
  • Two tunable diaphragms
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces

Cons: Cost

Personally, I have owned a Cardiology III for years and have had zero issues with it. I have never encountered a clinical situation in which the Cardiology III was not up to the task, or felt that I wish I had a different stethoscope. Littmann has released the Cardiology IV, which is very highly reviewed but looks to be mostly evolutionary changes over the III. For the future cardiologist, the Master Cardiology version is a consideration, but likely too advanced for the beginning medical student.

For the more budget conscious student, the next best option is the 3M Littmann Cardiology II SE: 

Unlike the III, the II SE has slightly lower acoustic performance and a shorter warranty. However, it is a more economical choice.

Here is a table with a full comparison of Littmann stethoscopes features:

 Classic II S.E.Classic IIIMaster Classic II
Acoustic Performance789
Ideal ForPhysical Assessment and DiagnosisPhysical Assessment and DiagnosisPhysical Assessment and Diagnosis
Warranty3 Years5 Years3 Years
Chestpiece Design/MaterialDouble Sided/Machined Stainless SteelDouble Sided/Machined Stainless SteelSingle Sided/Plated and Polished Alloy
Available Colors/Finishes6 Colors/ 2 Finishes18 Colors/ 4 Finishes9 Colors/ 2 Finishes
Tunable DiaphragmTunable DiaphragmRedesigned Single-Piece Tunable Diaphragm on Each Side of the ChestpieceTunable Diaphragm
Tube DesignSingle Lumen TubingSingle Lumen TubingSingle Lumen Tubing
Weight/Length135 grams, 28"/71cm150 grams, 27"/69cm160 grams, 27"/69cm
Made in USA

Cardiology IIICardiology IVMaster Cardiology
Acoustic Performance9910
Ideal ForCardiology/High PerformanceCardiology/High PerformanceCardiology/High Performance
Warranty5 Years7 Years7 Years
Chestpiece Design/MaterialDouble Sided/Machine Stainless SteelDouble Sided/Machined Stainless SteelSingle Sided/Cast Stainless Steel
Available Color/Finishes16 Colors/ 6 Finishes7 Colors/ Stainless Steel Finish7 Colors/ 3 Finishes
Tunable DiaphragmTwo Tunable DiaphragmsRedesigned Single-Piece Tunable Diaphragm on Each Side of the ChestpieceTunable Diaphragm
Tube DesignDual Lumen TubingDual Lumen TubingDual Lumen Tubing
Weight/Length175, 180 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm167, 177 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm175, 185 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm
Made in the USA
Source: Amazon 

Have questions about your stethoscope choice? Feel free to contact us using the link at the top of this page. Happy hunting!

Monday, December 12, 2016

3 Great Reasons to Get Amazon Prime for Students

As you can tell, we are big fans of Amazon on this site. Admittedly, we get a commission from products purchased on Amazon through this site, but even if we didn't, the site is a great deal for students. Between textbooks, games, and other resources, pretty much anything a medical student would need is at their fingertips.

I still remember the days before Amazon, trying to buy books for a required reading list for school. I forget the title, but I found out the night before an assigned reading was due that I needed to have a certain novel. I called up a few bookstores, who said they carried the book generally but did not know if they had it in stock. Figuring the only way to know for sure was to check, I dragged my parents to THREE bookstores before finally getting lucky. Even then, I think we paid the cover price for a paperback, which in retrospect was outrageously expensive. While authors and publishers may not be fans, anyone who enjoys books should be very thankful that Amazon exists.

As a student, the benefits are even better. Amazon Student offers Prime services for free for SIX months. After that, enjoy a reduced rate for four years. If you refer a friend, you also get a $10 credit:

One of the big benefits of Amazon for students in general is their Kindle program. Once you download the app, you can read any Kindle title that you own on any supported device, including web browsers. Download the app today.

But wait, it gets better. If you own an actual Kindle device, you get access to two free books a month through the Kindle Lending Library, and the Kindle First program. That's up to a $480 value! I personally own a Kindle Paperwhite and am a huge fan.

For the medically inclined, many texts are available. Trust me, it's much easier to carry around one Kindle than several large textbooks. For example, I own the Handbook of Interventional Radiologic Procedures. While the paperback version is highly portable, here are some benefits of the Kindle version:

  • Searchable
  • Bookmarkable
  • Portable - what happens if you forget the paperback at home one day? No worries - just log into from any desktop computer and boom! Your entire Kindle library at your fingertips. 
  • You can even highlight and annotate

I cannot tell you how often these features have unexpectedly come in handy today. If you are not already part of the Amazon ecosystem, why not give it a shot? Amazon also has a large textbook exchange service, which can come in handy if you are thinking about making the switch to an all digital personal library. What have your experiences with Amazon and e-books, in particular e-textbooks been like? Comment below, or use the Contact form above to share your thoughts!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Medical Student Holiday Gift Guide

Building off our recent Holiday Book List post, and on previous gift guides, here are a few gift ideas for the medical or healthcare profession student in your life. These suggestions include both light-hearted and practical ideas, from stocking stuffer to larger items. Regardless of what you choose, your gift will show your cared one that you support them on their journey to becoming a practitioner of the healing arts.

* Giant Microbes
The always popular plush Giant Microbes are really getting into the holiday spirit this year by releasing a stocking stuffer collection, literally in a stocking! The collection includes:
  • Penicillin with red, green and white caps
  • Limited Edition Green Amoeba with scarf and ear muffs
  • Dust Mite with reindeer antlers
  • Salmonella with holly embroidery
  • Red Blood Cell with snowflake embroidery

Additional collections can be ordered in Christmas tree or wreath boxes.

* Brain Slice Coasters
Budding neurologist or neurosurgeon in your midst? Check out these brain slice translucent coasters. They look pretty neat, especially when stacked! The set includes ten 4" x 4" coasters, hand wash only.

* Black& Decker Personal Coffee Maker
Looking for something to put on those snazzy coasters you just picked up? How about this Black & Decker personal coffee maker with included mug? The Brew 'N Go has a permanent filter and the mug is designed to fit most car cupholders.

Other novelty mug ideas include:

* Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated speaker system that is powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. While it does not have any direct healthcare application (yet), the device is useful for providing news, weather, sports, and other information. The Echo is also a pretty decent speaker and can play music from Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, and other streaming services. Through its skills platform (think app store), it can be extended to perform a wide range of functions like hailing an Uber, ordering a pizza, and many more. If you have a connected house (such as Phillips Hue lights or a Nest thermostat), you can use Alexa to control those devices with voice commands as well. The Echo does have some rough edges - you have to speak clearly and concisely for it to work really well. While it will understand multiple people, it's best to keep your phrasing simple. Also, don't expect Alexa to magically answer any question you through at it. The search function works best when you ask simple, close-ended, fact based questions like "What is the capital of Florida?", but not so well with broader, open ended questions like "What is the best time of year to visit Florida?"

* Stethoscope
If your loved one is new to their training, a stethoscope is a great way to both look the part and gain a useful tool. If they are already in training but have a budget stethoscope, upgrade them to a higher quality one. The Littmann line is well regarded and comes in a wide range of styles and options. For a basic choice, a Classic III is a fine place to start:

For a limited time, Amazon is offering a 10% discount off the price listed above!

And last but not least, when in doubt, you cannot go wrong with an Amazon Gift Card to let them get that perfect esoteric item for themselves:

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Medical Books Holiday Wish List

Practicing medicine gets busy! Looking back at (the lack of) posts on here, I realize that I have not read a good book about medicine in a while. In fact, I don't think I've read a book cover-to-cover in almost a year! While I don't know the next time I will have enough free time to break that streak, here are a few books I would consider:

Written by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies, Mukherjee's new book The Gene explores both the history of the how humans considered the concept of the gene, as well as what the futures holds when we are able to edit the genetic code. Having heard Mukherjee speak in person, I can attest that he is a thoughtful and passionate believer in a deep understanding of the history of medicine in order to inform future avenues for medical research. Have you read The Gene? How did you find it?


While not new, The End of Illness re-examines what it means to be 'healthy' and what one can do to live a robust life. Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at USC, and has written several other books about life and health, but this is perhaps his most well known. If you have read it, what did you think?


Paul Kalanithi was a young neurosurgeon, who has to comes to terms with his own mortality all too soon. I cannot imagine the heartache he and his family must have gone through, but hopefully writing this book provided him some catharsis.

While I used the idiom "cover to cover", the honest truth is that it's been even longer since I truly did that. In the last few years, I have started using a Kindle Paperwhite to actual read longform. While it's not a perfect substitute for the written page, I find the ability to carry many books at one time, read in low light, and look up related material very useful. A single charge lasts 30 *days*, and e-books purchased from Amazon can be read on other devices too, including any web browser. It even syncs your last read page across devices!

As the holidays approach, any of these items would also likely make a great gift for the budding healthcare professional in your life. Come across a good healthcare-related gift idea? Please share!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Primer On The Different Types Of Medical Education/Courses

This guest post by Danielle Ward details the various options available to those interested in a career in the healthcare professions but not sure about what type of degree or what type of specialty to pursue.
The field of medical science is not just confined to physicians and doctors; there are so many degree courses and areas you can specialize in. A Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate Degree in Medicine is among the most common and popular academic course that almost every aspiring doctor wants to achieve, but there’s much more than that. You also have to crack tough entrance exams and fight through intense competition to win a seat in a prestigious medical college or institution. Most medical colleges cover major subjects, such as medicinal drugs, anatomy, and physiology
Let us delve deeper into the many different types of courses and degree option. Listed below are some practical and interesting career choices for medical students:
General physician
The most primary of medical courses, this involves studying all the different and diverse subjects in medical science. General Physicians are almost never out of work and have ample earning opportunities. It prepares you to deal with the most common ailments, such as common cold, to deadly diseases and disorders, such as cholera and jaundice. One can pursue a career as a general physician after getting an undergraduate degree in Medicine (MBBS) or a post graduate degree (MD) in general medicine.   
Specialized courses
Outside the US, once you’ve achieved a bachelor’s degree in medicine i.e. MBBS, you can either start off with medical practice right away or major in a specialized field. Discussed below are some of the specialised courses that medical students are qualified to apply for:  
Surgery medicine is one field you can specialise in. It involves learning more about the anatomy and the various intricacies of the internal organs of the body in detail. You can further narrow down your course by choosing one particular organ such as the eye or the brain and specialise in it. Your job involves examining the patient, diagnosing his condition and operating on the body to surgically remove the source of the problem. Getting a degree, MD in surgery medicine boosts your credibility and influence in the medical community.  
Dentistry is a brand of medical science that deals with oral care and surgical treatment of teeth. From fixing the alignment to dealing with cavities you have to do it all. The MD in dentistry course involves learning all about the various dental disorders and infections that can possibly happen inside the mouth. It also covers a section about treating disorders relating to gums, and soft tissues inside the mouth.  You’ll also have to study about the many surgical operations and high powered medicine.
Neurology as the name suggests deals with nerves. The syllabus is a detailed account of the different nerves and their functions in the human body. Most neurologists are also physiotherapists who plan out proper exercises that help bring sensation back to dead nerves. Neurology also involves a bit of psychiatrist study. As a neurologist you’ll have to diagnose and treat nervous disorders relating to the brain and the nervous system.   
Other areas:
Other than these major courses mentioned above, there are other equally lucrative medical fields that you can choose from. For instance, an MD in paediatrician qualifies you to treat babies and young kids. Studying cardiology trains you to identify and treat heart problems. A dermatologist deals with skin abnormalities and infections. A course in gynaecology includes diagnosing and treating the disorders in the female reproductive system. All these areas of study require a basic MBBS degree and offer high pay packages.   
Medical research
There are many medical students who take up internships at established hospitals and ten join the topmost medical institutions as doctors and surgeons. But not everyone who takes up a medical course ends up being a doctor, there are students who continue their academic studies and venture out in the field of research. A relatively unknown yet interesting course, medical research involves a lot of effort and patience.
The bottom line:
Medical science is a sector full of opportunities. And there are loads of other major and auxiliary degree courses that you can opt for. Consider your field of interest and the practicality of the course before you apply for it.      

Monday, November 28, 2016

Acing Your Medical School Interview

The following sponsored post discusses important considerations for an outstanding medical school interview. 

Going to medical school is no laughing matter. Not only do you have to be smart and hard working but you also have to be determined, patient, strong etc. On top of that you need to have resources or the money to pay for the tuition fee, expensive books, and all the other requirements you'll need. Furthermore, you have to think a hundred times if you really want to be a doctor so that no matter how hard it gets you won't easily give up. You should also be the type who doesn’t complain when they're swamped with homework and would do every single one of them with enthusiasm. Otherwise, you'll end up like those medical students who purchase assignment just to be able to survive med school.

Having said that, you definitely won't be able to enter medical school with only good grades in hand. You must ace the interview or else your chances of getting accepted will be greatly reduced. Interviewing applicants is very important because this is where you'll get essential information that won't appear in any test and academic records. It provides interviewers with an insight on how these students carry themselves in the patient room. Their answers let interviewers know how good and comfortable you sound when interacting with other people which is very important. Since you don't want to fail, there're steps that you can take to ace the interview.

To prepare for an interview, the student should know and understand the different types of interviews. A panel interview is where you'll meet several interviewers in a single meeting and is usually a cross section of the medical school faculty and may include a medical student. A stress interview determines how an interviewee would behave under pressure and often involve personal and sensitive topics. In an open interview, the interviewer may choose the specific information to which he is acquainted with. In a blind interview, the interviewer doesn't know anything about the student and would ask him to say something about himself. Behavioral interviews operate under the theory that past performance is often the best indicator of how you’ll perform in the future.

Being well prepared is a must in any type of medical school interview. Learn and study the usual interview questions, give good answers, and practice the way you'll answer them. In preparing, you must know your strengths and weaknesses and prepare to address them. Get ready to be asked with ethical and moral questions. You should also try your best to make a good first impression. Furthermore, get ready to answer questions as to why you want a career in the medical field.

It's also essential to know the mistakes they’re usually committed so as not to make these mistakes such as answering questions too fast and not staying on topic. You should also stay positive and professional at all times. Always remember to relax and don't give out robotic answers. It's likewise important to listen very carefully to the interviewer so as to get a hint of what they're interested in. Learn about the specific programs and medical specialties the university offers and while you're on campus, talk to medical students and ask them about the program.

Radu Anthony is a blogger who writes about education, travel, health, finance and technology.


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