I still remember my first stethoscope a Littmann – Classic III with pretty Caribbean Blue tubing. It was the first nursing tool that I bought after getting accepted into nursing school and I couldn’t wait to learn how to use it. I look back at how I used to take such careful care of my treasured listening tool, gently cleaning it and placing it back into it’s box each night after clinical. After I started to learn how to use it, I would take it out at night, turn the t.v or radio off and badger my family until they relented and let me listen to their lungs one more time….
After graduating, I still loved my stethoscope. I was so proud to become a nurse and my Caribbean Blue Littmann was my badge of accomplishment. It was the only necklace that I needed and it looked great laying against my white scrub jacket. I hate to admit it now, but sometimes…..just sometimes, I “forgot” to take my stethoscope off after leaving work and before stopping at the store on my way home…..I liked wearing it and I wanted everyone to know that I knew how to use this powerful tool. But, that was a long time ago…
Sixteen years later, my cherished, Caribbean Blue Littmann is gone. I have owned and lost several stethoscopes; some accidently “stolen” by the doctors, others lost. Currently, I have a few different colors, brands and models, because even after all these years I still love my stethoscope and sometimes I see a new one that I just can’t resist. Kind of like the fashionista when she sees a purse or a must have pair of shoes.
But… even with all the love, something changed…….
I started to loathe draping it around my neck!
My stethoscope felt like it weighed 100 pounds!
Nurses do back breaking work, we stand, lift, twist and turn in awkward positions. We spend a lot of time looking down. It doesn’t matter how many “proper body mechanic” inservices we go to….our spines take a beating. Like many nurses, I suffered from headaches, neck and back pain. My stethoscope began to feel like it weighed a hundred pounds on my neck.
I didn’t have an alternative way to carry my stethoscope that worked. I ended up leaving my prized possession on bedside tables, desk and other inconvenient locations. Sometimes, I stuffed it into my pocket, but it felt bulky and uncomfortable. And, I was afraid that curling up the tubing would damage it. So, most of the time, I just wore it around my neck and took a lot of Advil, Tylenol and muscle rub cream. I always smelled like menthol!
Boogers, MRSA, C-DIFF and who knows what else! I didn’t want that nasty stuff next to my face or touching the skin on my neck! I know, the obvious solution would be to just wash it – well, I am human and I confess that sometimes I forgot or was just too busy. But even washed, I am sure there were still bugs lurking and it just grossed me out!
I wanted a stethoscope holder that had springs that would quickly snap open to hold and release my stethoscope. I couldn’t find one.
Like other nurses, I am a problem solver, so when I couldn’t find a good tool that would allow me to clip my stethoscope to the waistband on my scrubs, I developed one. At first, it was just for me. Then something amazing happened, coworkers saw me using my nifty little stethoscope clip, and they started confessing to me about the problems that they had with wearing their stethoscope around their necks. It wasn’t long before I was receiving orders.
The next thing that I knew, I was applying for a patent, interviewing manufacturers and getting ready to run a kickstarter campaign. I was on my way to becoming an accidental nursepreneur. I built a website and named my business Nurse Born Products. It’s a play on words; the product was born from a nurse’s imagination and also many nurses say that they were “born” to nurse – so it fit. I named my stethoscope clip, The Nurse Born Stethoscope Holder and I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that it has sold worldwide and is carried in stores across the country!
Nurse Born Products has expanded to include products that have been Inspired by other nurses as well as being a platform where nurses can purchase stethoscopes, including a Littmann – Classic 111 with Caribbean Blue tubing, and other essential nursing supplies. It is my dream to fill Nurse Born Products with Nurse Invented Products!
I still love my stethoscope, I just carry it in a holder instead of around my neck. And, I still feel privileged to have the skill to use this powerful tool!
Would love to hear in comments about your stethoscope, the color, model and how you like to carry it.