Stethoscopes – Frequently Asked Questions

Is a stethoscope compulsory?

Yes, it is a required piece of equipment for medical school and something you will use very often.   It is required for the cardiovascular and respiratory component of Clinical Skills in the second half of ELM2.

Why should I buy one through OUMSA?

This year OUMSA has partnered with Frontier Medical to be able to offer a great deal on American Diagnostic brand steths.   These are a quality steth and we believe offer a value for money alternative to previously supplied brands such as Littman, while still maintaining top notch quality.   There are many reviews online which rate AD steths as excellent quality compared to other brands.   Check out a comparison reference guide here.

What kind of warranty do they come with?

Frontier Medical offers a lifetime warranty on ADC 603 stethoscopes and limited warranties on ADC 601 cardiology steths, subject to reasonable use.  This means that normal wear and tear is covered, however if you drive over your stethoscope with a car it will most likely not be covered.

Another advantage of Frontier Medical is that they have reps in Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington which means you can deal with a real person if there are any issues.   They have friendly staff that can help you out and answer and questions you may have about their products.

Do I need a cardio steth to start with?   Are these better?

Some students choose to invest extra money and buy a cardiology stethoscope to start with, but with you will most likely not notice any appreciable difference until you get experienced at listening to heart and lung sounds once you get to your later years in ALM.

What colours are available?    The colour I wanted is sold out.

Frontier have pre-ordered quantities of various colours.   These are available on a first-in, first-served basis via our online store.   If the colour you want is sold out and you REALLY feel that you wanted that colour – please contact us and we can look at back-ordering it for you.   You may have to pay shipping costs and your order will arrive at a later date.

Can I get it engraved?

OUMSA have partnered with a local engraving company who are again offering us an amazing deal of $23 (usually $38) for stethoscope engraving.   This will take place late February / early March and will be ordered via the online store.   You can specify up to 25 characters and all you need to do is drop off your steth at the OUMSA office (date to be advised) and we will arrange to have it engraved and ready for you to collect from the office once done.   All ADC steths come with a name tag if you do not wish to have your steth engraved.

I’ve seen really cheap steths on TradeMe for $30.   Can’t I just buy one of these?

You could, but these will most likely be for veterinary students or high school students and will be of poor quality both in manufacturing and the ability to listen to sounds clearly.   There is also no warranty on them when they do eventually break.

How / where should I wear my stethoscope?

Courtesy of Otago Med Revue 🙂