What’s the deal with PBDS testing?

  • career advice
  • October 25, 2016
As if the thought of starting a new job assignment at a new facility wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, you have just been told that you will be required to take the Performance Based Development System (PBDS) test. Cue the eye roll and heavy sigh.

We know you’re already working long hours and do not need yet another thing added to your plate. However, it’s vital that you understand the importance of this test, and more importantly, the testing methodology used to ensure your success. Don’t worry though - we’re here to help!

Some brief details

Since 2010, more than 500 healthcare providers nationwide have been using the PBDS test to gauge your critical thinking skills. In short, it’s a good way for you to know if there are areas that you could benefit by brushing up on.  

This timed test usually takes between two and four hours to complete. It is often administered at the facility where you will be working, but may be assigned to you to take online. The test is a multi-step, computer-based assessment consisting of short video clips of patient scenarios where you will be asked to recognize a problem, provide action steps for treatment/intervention and provide the rationale for your response. Each hospital works to develop specific assessments for patient events that most often occur at their facility.

There are three focus areas of the test:
  • Critical thinking: recognizing a problem, managing patient risk and prioritizing tasks
  • Technical skills: safety, efficacy and efficiency knowledge
  • Interpersonal communication: team building skills, conflict resolution and patient satisfaction, such as bed-side manner

So how do you prepare?

The PBDS assessment may seem intimidating, but just like any examination, there are ways you can prepare.

Before taking the exam, carefully review materials from reliable and trustworthy sources as a way to refresh yourself on information that will be covered. You will be required to make a provision diagnosis, likely a medical diagnosis, for the presented patient scenario. Remember your nursing interventions and the ABC’s (airway, breathing and circulation) when determining your prioritized action plan for the patient scenario presented to you. Nothing on the test should be new to you — you already know how to care for your patients in real life. The only difference is you will be asked to write step-by-step details of what you would do in the scenario.

Finally, don’t forget about those old test-taking tips your parents gave you in grade school. Get plenty of rest the night before the exam, and eat a good breakfast the day of your assessment. Remember, this test will take you several hours to complete, so you want to make sure you have plenty of energy.

If you’d like to learn more about the PBDS, or just want to speak with someone about a new opportunity with Randstad, then our recruiters would like to talk with you! Update your contact information today and we will reach out to discuss your career needs.