What Are Some of the Commonly Used Medical Instruments?

Commonly Used Medical Equipment and Devices

Many studies have shown that pretend play has a key role in early development. Through imaginative play, children are able to act out scenarios they have experienced and allow them to deal with all sorts of emotions. This kind of play helps children develop solid problem solving skills and think creatively.

Playing as doctors is probably one of the most popular forms of role playing. Children love to diagnose what ails their dolls or nurse their toys back to health. Doctor play sets are designed to promote role playing and imaginative play for kids. These toys usually come in sets of some of the most common medical instruments used by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

Medical Equipment & Instruments

Let’s take a look at some of these medical instruments and know more about them.


A stethoscope is easily the most recognisable of all medical instruments. Doctors in various forms of media are often depicted with a stethoscope hanging around their necks.

It’s a medical instrument for auscultation or listening to internal low-volume sounds such as a heartbeat or someone’s breathing. It has a small disc-shaped resonator placed against the body part and two tubes connected to earpieces.

The stethoscope that looked similar to an ear trumpet was invented in France in 1816 by René Laennec who worked as a physician at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris.


A sphygmomanometer, which is also known as blood pressure meter, is an instrument for measuring blood pressure. It consists of an inflatable rubber cuff, a measuring gauge and a bulb. Modern sphygmomanometers feature an LCD screen where measurements are displayed digitally and several buttons for adjustments and operation.

The word sphygmomanometer comes from the Greek word sphygmos which means pulse and the French word manometer which means pressure meter.

The sphygmomanometer was invented in 1881 by an Austrian-Jewish physician named Samuel Siegfried Karl von Basch. Italian internist and pediatrician Scipione Riva-Rocci modified Karl von Basch’s sphygmomanometer into an easy-to-use cuff-based version. Further improvements were made to the first sphygmomanometer over the years that followed and in 1981, Donald Nunn invented the first fully automated oscillometric blood pressure cuff.


An otoscope is a medical instrument used for visual examination of the eardrum and the passage of the outer ear to screen for illness during regular check-ups and to assess ear infections and symptoms. Sometimes, health care professionals use otoscopes to examine patients’ noses and upper throats.


A thermometer is a medical device used for measuring the body temperature of humans. Temperature is usually taken using a thermometer by inserting it under the armpit. Some thermometers can be inserted into the mount under the thought or into the rectum. Modern thermometers feature forms of digital gauges instead of mercury gauges.

The first medical thermometer was constructed by Galileo Galilei in 1593. It was appropriately called a water thermoscope and it lacked an accurate scale to measure temperature. In 1625, Italian physician Santorio Santorio improved upon Galileo’s water thermoscope by putting a measurable on the thermoscope. However, his invention was difficult to use because it was bulky and took a fair amount of time to take an accurate temperature reading.

Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt designed a portable medical thermometer in 1866 and in 1868 German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich concluded that the normal human temperature is between the range of 36.3 to 37.5 degrees Celsius.


Next Up: How to Choose a Doctor Play Set for Your Child

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