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!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Related Products from Amazon