The first stethoscope was invented in France in 1846 and looked nothing like the stethoscope of today – far from being soft and flexible, it was made from wood and resembled a bathroom plunger.
That’s because it was based on the ear trumpet – a cone-like device used as a primitive hearing aid.
The modern stereo stethoscope was developed by Rappaport and Sprague in the 1940s. This model was acoustic, short, heavy and expensive. It came in a fancy walnut box and retailed for $300. Some were even gold-plated.
Great strides were made during the 1960s and 1970s in improving the materials used in acoustic stethoscopes, leading to more precise diagnoses, lower prices and better comfort.
Some doctors developed a “perfect pitch” through their stethoscopes – a talented professor named Dr. W. Proctor Harvey became a “virtuoso” who could diagnose complex heart conditions just by listening to a patient’s heartbeat!
Keeping up with the Internet age, stethoscopes went electronic in the early 2000s. This great leap in technology provided precision volume control, ambient noise reduction, and wireless capabilities to record heartbeats into computers for analysis by software.
While electronic models are superior for certain functions (such as listening to fetal heartbeats), acoustic stethoscopes still remain the more widely popular choice.
At allheart.com, we carry all types of “modern” stethoscope, from the very basic single head model to the most sophisticated electronic models, which we recognize are a crucial component to your every-day work life. With options ranging from custom engraving to fashion right colors- it’s hard to imagine that this piece of equipment was once little more than a bathroom plunger.
- Scrubs (and nurses’ uniforms in general) evolved from nuns’ habits. Nuns were the original caretakers of the sick.
- Florence Nightengale pioneered the idea that nurses should dress distinctly and differently from other medical aid workers.
- Despite lacking gloves or masks, nurses in the 1800s were sold “fever-proof” uniforms that supposedly blocked disease.
- In the early 20th century, nurses dressed in straight, sharply-tailored, ankle-length dresses. It was more important to be seen as respectable – and separate from the servants — than to be comfortable.
- World War I changed everything. Skirts were shortened so that nurses could move around, or, if necessary, run.
- Well into the 20th century, surgeons wore street clothes with butchers’ aprons. The practice dropped sharply after the 1940s, as it was dangerous to both doctor and patient, not to mention distasteful.
- Hats were once a major part of nursing uniforms. They fell out of favor because male nurses didn’t like wearing them.
- Riding a wave of enhanced hygiene, scrubs became popular in the 1970s because they were easier to clean than uniforms. They were considered more hygienic and less likely to transmit Staph and other hospital-borne pathogens.
- In the early days, scrubs were almost always green or light blue, but some hospitals switched to pink (or enormous stenciled logos) to discourage theft. University hospitals frequently match their scrubs to their institution’s colors.
- Scrubs have gained popularity outside the hospital and have been adopted by backpackers because of their light weight and comfortable feel.
What do you know about scrubs that we need to know at The Pulse? What is the word at the nurses station in terms of the hottest brands or the best fitting bottoms? Is there some special way that you wash your scrubs that keeps the colors more vibrant and helps them last longer? What color scrubs look great together? What scrubs do you wear as every day clothing or wear together with your street clothes?