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Otoscopes,Ophthalmoscopes,Stethescopes...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by veronesepk, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. veronesepk

    veronesepk Junior Member

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    Hi everybody,
    At my school (UAB), we start doing physicals in January. Because of this, we have to buy a bunch of diagnostic equipment (At least an otoscope,ophthalmoscope, and a stethescope). Some representatives from Welch Allyn came and did a pitch and some demonstrations at school today, but I'm not really comfortable with forking over $500-900 to them without getting some advice. What do you all reccomend purchasing (i.e. brands, models, etc.). Also, are there any decent places to get this stuff for less money (internet or brick and mortar retailers).
    Thanks!
    Keith (UAB 2008)
     
  2. ColoMD

    ColoMD Member
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    Do a search for this on SDN...there are dozens of threads. But definitely get a Welch Allyn diagnostic kit. You may hate to buy into the monopoly, but they have a monopoly for good reason...their the best.
     
  3. JunkintheTrunk

    JunkintheTrunk Blondes are smrt
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  4. DW3843

    DW3843 Senior Member
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    I started a thread not long ago to get some feedback on steeles.com You can probably find it and others like it in a search.
    I'm pretty much in your same position and was looking for places to get all of that equipment other than from the reps who came and gave their dog and pony show.

    Most people seemed to have good things to say about steeles.com so I ordered a Littman Cardio III and Welch Allyn Tycos BP kit. Their prices are as good or better than what the reps offered us, and you can even get the student stethoscope package that includes some extra earpieces and a heart sounds CD for free. I didn't buy my oto/ophthalmo scope yet because I don't need it until the beginning of 2nd year, but I'm sure I'll use this same company. They have a good selection of the same products that everyone tends to get year after year.

    I haven't gotten my stuff yet because it ships tomorrow, but I don't anticipate any problems whatsoever.

    Feel free to check it out or look around for some other suppliers. I'd suggest sticking with the usual suspects like the Welch Allyn stuff. The general opinion seems to be that it's a good buy overall. Remember, you want to get something that's good quality that will last and be worth the money, but at the same time you don't want to break the bank on some fancy crap that you really aren't going to use that much in the long run.
     
  5. Nflow

    Nflow Senior Member
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    I concur on steeles.com. Also a Littman Cardiology 3, Welch Allen Kit is what I would reccomend.

     
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  6. roja

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    This is the biggest scam in the world... as you will more than likely NEVER use anything but yoru stethascope after second year (clinics/wards, etc have otoscopes adn BP cuffs, etc). Look at your school and see if thier are fourth years selling thiers cheap. I sold my pocket oto/opthalmascope to a first year when I was a fourth year...s till haven't gotten rid of my damn BP cuff though.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    veronesepk

    veronesepk Junior Member

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    What have you all heard about the pocket welch allyn kits? They seem to be a lot cheaper, are they any good?
     
  8. roja

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    Mine worked fine.
     
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  9. Fro

    Fro shortbus driver
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    Its a huge scam - and welch allyn must paying med schools to get away with this crap.
    DON'T BUY OTO/OPTHALMOSCOPES!
    you don't need them!
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    veronesepk

    veronesepk Junior Member

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    It sucks though b/c I have heard alot of people saying we won't really use them, but we were told we had to buy them. Is that just BS?
     
  11. roja

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    Yes, its bs. If your really nervous, go in with some friends... but its total bs
     
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  12. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!!
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    Finally, someone said what I've wanted to say... I agree completely! enough other people will buy them that you can just borrow from someone...
     
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  13. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending
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    I'm an ENT resident, and I don't even own an otoscope/ophthalmoscope. I never bought one. They're outrageously expensive, and after your pediatrics rotation, you'll never use it again.

    If you're going into ENT, you don't need it; trust me.

    If you're going into ophthalmology, you probably don't need one. (If you do, I'm sure by that time you can buy a really good one.)

    If you're going into pediatrics, I bet you don't need one.

    Borrow the scope from someone else, and treat him/her to dinner or something. Even if you go to a $$$$ restaurant, it's still cheaper!

    Lastly, you don't need a Litman Cardiology III or whatever is the best thing going now. It's no better than the plain jane Litman.

    Save your money for textbooks and beer.
     
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  14. roja

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    hear hear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





    :D
     
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  15. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member
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    This is not necessarily true. At the end of our first semester in medical school, we do an observed physical exam. I am not sure how technical the grading is, but we have to have the instruments if we want to practice outside of class time.

    At the end of MS2, we do what is called the OSCE which is a list of 200+ things for the physical exam. Again, if we're gonna practice (and if you want to pass, you'd better) then you have to own your own equipment.

    So before taking someone's limited perspective opinion, make sure that YOUR school doesn't actually require them.
     
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  16. OP
    OP
    veronesepk

    veronesepk Junior Member

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    I think I'm gonna go with the pocket version. We have OSCE's too, and I want to be able to practice w/o spending $1000. What about stethescopes? HP-Sprague or Littmann?
     
  17. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member
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    Other than a pocket version, what else would you buy??? I have NEVER heard of anyone buying a wall mounted version.


    I think most people get littmanns, by the way.
     
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  18. Fro

    Fro shortbus driver
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    u got no friends? can't borrow them?
    every school says they "require" them
    use your damn brain and figure out its a lie
    its your money to waste
     
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  19. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!!
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    they say required so mr. georgie bush and friends will pay for it for the army/navy/etc. people
     
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  20. btchance

    btchance Member
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    I'm a first year at UAB also, and my ICM preceptor told us today that we really don't need them. Apparently, the LRC has ones that we can check out for the day to practice with, and that all the clinics that we will be in have what we need, and if for some reason we're in the hospital and don't have one in the room, just go to the nurses station and ask. Also, he said that we don't need a cardiology stethescope. He has had the single tube Littman Classic II for a number of years, and that it has been more than adequate. Hope that helps some.
     
  21. BenYossarian

    BenYossarian thrillhouse
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    Hey. I got a stethoscope as a (undergrad) graduation present. It's a Mabis-Legacy Sprague Rappaport Type...is this gonna cut it? I'd hate to have to buy another one/let this one go to waste. ok.
     
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  22. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member
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    Wow. Anyway, I would prefer to be proficient with the instruments before I jump into clinicals. I am not gonna go bother my friends every time I want to practice. Besides, I wouldn't be loaning out my equipment frequently anyway...as you so eloquently implied, it was expensive. I suspect my friends would feel the same.
     
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  23. roja

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    :laugh: Limited perspective? because we happen to disagree, despite the fact that we have ALL had to take the OSCE? (oh, and in addition to the OSCE, we had to perform, after the first month of medical school, a 300 point PEST [physical exam skills test].) Still never had to use my oto/opthalmoscope.

    And how is your professor going to know if you saw all four quadrents of the retina? or the light reflex in the ear? :rolleyes:

    Yes, you should practice.... but you don't need to buy the crap to do that. However, if you are one of those people that is goign to be amazingly nervous without it, go ahead and shell out all the bucks. There are worse ways to blow the money.

    Ben If you put the stethascope on your own heart and can hear it beating and you can hear breath sounds, your stethascope is fine. A 15 dollar one probably won't cut it, but there is no reason to spend more than n80-90 bucks, unless you just like to waste your money (on my fourth stethascope secondary to thievery...)



    Wow, this is an unfriendly and unhelpful attitude. You don't have enough trust in your friends to handle an opthalmascope? Are they 4? And who are you goign to practice on? yourself? There really is no need to buy these things (a stethascope, yes).
     
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  24. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member
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    When I said "limited perspective" I wasn't exactly being condescending but that's apparently how it was taken across the boards. I am really sorry for that. My assumption, which may have been bad, was that the poster was assuming that since he didn't need the opthalmoscope (et. al) that no one else at any other medical school would either. That would definitely be a limited perspective assumption. But I'm sorry nonetheless.

    And no, I don't think it's a good idea to lend out $1000 worth of equipment. And I have plenty of friends/family that come to my apartment who don't mind in the least for me to practice on them.

    Sorry for coming across as a jerk...it's just I get a little tired of people assuming things like this. Just because your medical school does something a certain way, doesn't mean that mine does too.
     
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  25. Dral

    Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

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    We were told we were supposed to buy them.

    I never did because I really didn't have the money. (Just bought a stethoscope and reflex hammer)

    I'm in 4th year and haven't been scolded or kicked out yet. I think you'll be fine without, unless you want a paperweight conversation piece.
     
  26. theNetherlands

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    It is a shame what you are supposed to buy, and most of you will never use.
    I don't know what the routine is in the US since I'm from europe.
    With my experience there is always a hospital oto-/ ophtalmoscope lying around for general use if really needed, and if not we write out a consultation form for the ENT or opthalmology/ eye-doctor (or how you call it over in the states)

    If you are on a tight budget just buy the Sprauge-rappaport stethoscope I'm sometimes amazed what you can hear from this pre World War 1! design. I think it is even better than my lithmann II. And in The Netherlands there are lots of doctors still using them (and they are not on a thight budget!). I found searching for my own stuff this site: http://starvingmedstudent.com/ origine of the stuff is probably India or China but you will get to see a inflamated tymphanic membrane or something in the retina which is hard to see anyways. For about 200usd your fine with the diagnostic set.

    But my question is does anybody else ordered something from steeles.com or allheart.com, the look quite bonafide. But I don't know anyone who ever ordered something from them. And are there any other site that is more competitive in pricing for Welch-Allyn ENT products.
     
  27. justaregularmed

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    Didn't realize this was a necrothread. I was about to say if your school doesn't have a clinical skills lab by now, you should be worried.
     
  28. BigRedder

    BigRedder Passing Gas
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    Don't forget that you can use a stethoscope as a reflex hammer. Works pretty well for the big ones.

    On a side note, I never bought an ophthalmoscope, but those big indirect ones are pretty sweet...
     
  29. Siggy

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    The problem with a stock answer to "Do I need one" is that there are essentially three types of schools. School that tell you you don't need one. SChools that tell you you do need one and never actually require you to use it, and schools that requrie you to use it. At my school, we have a standardized patient program and we learn to do a basic physicial first semester followed by learning system focused exams over the next 3 semesters. If an exam requires the use of an opthalmoscope, then we're expected to use it on the patient. Yes, this largely means that we just go through the motions, but it's essentially impossible to pass the course without one.
     
  30. Gabby

    Gabby Senior Member
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    At my school, you're counted off on your clinical skills test if you do that.

    I know this is a 6-year old thread, but just to give it a present-day perspective, I'm an MSII and I've used both my oto/ophthal. My school is big on clinicals so we learned to use them the first day of MSI and have used them several times now when we go out into the community and do sports physicals/school physicals.
     
  31. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Ebay (one of my colleagues picked up a Panoptic for $200 that is in excellent condition) is out there and so are upper medical school classmates who can wait to unload these things. Before anyone drops hundreds of dollars for something that you can either share or buy used, check out other options. Medical schools get dollars from those companies for pushing their brands. Don't give up money you need for something more critical.
     
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  32. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
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    I love these tales of buying super expensive equipment on ebay for a fraction of the price. Can you find anything on eBay with a price similar to this?

    In terms of stethoscopes, I recommend the Cardio III, and I had a great experience with www.medisave.net. They do free laser engraving on the bell instead of cheap print on the tubing (which is an extra $10 on other sites) which looks nicer. I also got my engraved scope incredibly fast (<2 days from clicking "order").
     
  33. RoyBasch

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    I haven't bought an oto/optho, we only use them a few times a year (first two years) so when I need one I borrow one from a friend. I have a stethoscope that I got for free, I can't remember how, but its pretty ****ty. I might need to get a good one eventually.
     
  34. mexicochangedme

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    have you looked at mdf instruments? they're generally cheaper than littman and welch allyn because they manufacture their own products instead of outsourcing to a middle man and, in my experience, are better quality. i just typed in "mdf vs littman" into google and found this site that seems to explain some of the reasons why. http://ezinearticles.com/?MDF-Comparison-Guide&id=3657652

    anyway, i have two mdf stethoscopes (mdf one and cardio) and am really happy with them. i must have weird ears or something, but i often have trouble with scopes not sealing in my ears and am able to get a good sound as a result. these are the first scopes with which i've been able to consistently auscultate clearly. several doctors and nurses i've worked with have jumped ship from the world of littman since they tried using my stethoscope.
     
  35. BigRedder

    BigRedder Passing Gas
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    :shrug:

    Most (non-neuro) docs that I've seen actually do reflexes use their stethoscope. It is one less tool, and it is easier to get a good swing with that tubing. If you really want a hammer, get a ball peen looking one. The red triangle screams "I bought this because it's cheap and looks doctor-y".
     
  36. azzarah

    azzarah sleepy!
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    I got a stethoscope, a panoptic ophthalmoscope, and otoscope when I was a med student oh so long ago. I also bought a reflex hammer and one of those vibrating bars, whatever they are called.
    It was nice to have everything during 3rd year and I became really good at doing everything since I had my own instruments. I looked at everyone's optic nerve and Tympanic membranes. I sent everything home to my parents once I finished med school.

    It is nice to have a set of everything at home, even though I don't need them. I'm in ophthalmology and will never use my stethoscope in a professional setting. I did use my otoscope to look at my mom's ears the other day though.

    I'd spend the money so you can learn how to do everything properly now. After you finish med school, the $900 that you spent on instruments won't mean much.
     
  37. NERDY

    NERDY Member
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    Anyone have input for a cheap oto/opthoscope that won't break easily? I don't really want to spend 500+ dollars.
     
  38. Melicopter

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    Yeah, our school called it "required equipment" but the 4th years said they never used most of the stuff. Think about it - when was the last time you were in a clinic room that didn't have a scope hanging on the wall? It can come up - I'm not saying never - but it is uncommon. For the price, there's no way I'm getting one. Unless you're like azzarah and want some stuff to practice with, then whatever. I just have a stethoscope, pad of paper, pen, neato pocket guide to the physical exam, and a penlight.
     
  39. DoctwoB

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    Definitely agree with the advice of talking to the upperclassmen. At my school they said you do need oto/ophtho for physical exam and some rotations, but probably won't use them after that. They also said it is worth investing in a steth, so I bought a Harvey elite (heard it was better than cardio III from many attendings). i figured that even after I graduate I'll want one for around the house, so I bought a nice Welch-Allyn set used from a fourth year for about 1/2 price. If I decide I'll sell it fourth year and probably get most if not all my money back. I would advise against buying a welch allyn set new (its like a car, depreciation is a b****), but used you can find some good deals, though I would feel a bit uncomfortable buying from ebay.
     
  40. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    I'm yet to encounter a doctor's office that doesn't have that stuff in each exam room.

    I like how this thread has replies from people who are now in orthopedic surgery residencies and what not.
     
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  41. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    Holy necro-thread Batman! This thread is almost 6 years old!

    I bought my opthalmoscope/otoscope from a fourth year when I was a first year. He was going into Radiology, so he said he had absolutely no use for them. Got a barely used Welch-Allyn basic set for $200 (the 3.5v large-sized set), much cheaper than $500+ new. Ask some of the older students if they want to part with theirs!
     
  42. KeyzerSoze

    KeyzerSoze Scrambled Member
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    That's what I thought until I started my preceptorship last week. I didn't bring my otoscope/opthalmoscope set although I had bought a cheap one at the beginning of M1. Turns out that even though it was with a family medicine doc, all the patients we were seeing were inpatients, and none of the inpatient rooms have scopes. Sure you could go borrow one at the nursing station, but that would get pretty annoying for everyone pretty quickly.
     
  43. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    There have been many instances where the scopes in the room don't work, there aren't any at all, or you need to use one at home or while doing charity clinics and medical missions. I wish that I also had a more portable opthalmoscope/otoscope that I could carry in my pocket (I know they exist), but maybe someday when I have the money.
     
  44. thedoctor8706

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    Dang it, I wish I would have seen this thread earlier. I just paid $500+ to buy my ophthalmoscope/otoscope :(
     
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  45. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
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    Well get the most out of it and practice on your friends/family to get good. Put it on eBay if you match somewhere where you won't need it and you'll get a good chunk of your money back.

    No worries.
     
  46. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    IF the nursing station has one. I work at a very large county hospital with a level one trauma center. For the whole ED, there is one otoscope/ophthalmoscope. I have never seen one on the floors EVER. Considering that a fair amount of our rotations take place there, you'll pretty much need your own if you want to ever do a fundoscopic or ear exam.

    Despite this fact, you'll get nailed by your medicine attendings for not doing those exams, even if they are likely irrelevant (i.e. ear exam on COPD exacerbation). :rolleyes:
     
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  47. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    I guess that is one if the good things about doing our rotations at community hospitals. I can understand at the real large centers where that could be a problem.
     
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  48. trep14

    trep14 MS1
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    Well I kind of wish I had stumbled upon this thread before I shelled out $700 for a otoscope, opthalmoscope, and stethoscope on amazon a few days ago.
     
  49. 0_cat_state_1

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    #49 0_cat_state_1, Nov 17, 2010
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  50. DoctwoB

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    Enough with the ridiculously strong opinions yelling ITS A SCAM!!. The answer is it depends on your school. Agree 100% w/ there being 3 types of schools, those that say you don't need them, those that tell you that you need them but you don't, and those that tell you that you need them and you do.

    We had an issue at my school where we got an email from a 2nd year saying "you don't need this stuff, we barely used it, buy the cheap stuff, etc." and then a couple days later several emails from 4th years saying "that 2nd year is an idiot, you need them all the time for some rotations etc."

    The only way to really know is to ask the 4th years at your school.

    I think its definitely worth investing in a cardiology grade scope (Cardio III, harvey elite) and in a decent diagnostic set (Welch-allyn pocket or better). I recommend buying the diagnostic set from a 4th year who is selling theirs. I bought a high end welch allyn set in great shape for 40% of retail that way.
     

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