Performance Based Development System (PBDS) test study guide

Written by Chelsea Idzior on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Posted in Education & Career Advancement

The Performance Based Development System (PBDS) test is designed to assess how competent hospital personnel are at performing their jobs. As a travel nurse, you may at some point in your career be required to take the PBDS test. Being prepared for the PBDS assessment as a travel nurse is extremely important because if you do not pass the exam, there is a risk that your assignment could be cancelled.

Before accepting an assignment, you should always ask about their testing requirements to find out if you will need to take the PBDS exam. If you do find out that you need to take the exam, you will want to ask the facility if they go by a pass/fail policy. If the facility goes by this policy, a travel nurse who does not pass the exam will have his or her assignment cancelled.

Regardless if the facility you are taking the PBDS assessment at is pass/fail or not, you will want to study for the exam and understand its components.

The assessment tests three different skill areas: critical thinking, interpersonal and technical. The exam will require you to watch a one to two minute video of a clinical situation and then identify the problems within the situation, state the interventions you would make and the urgency of these actions, and explain why you chose the specific interventions. You will be given five to seven minutes to make these decisions after viewing the video. The PBDS exam is a written exam and you will have to either write the answers on paper or type them on a computer.

Some important reminders about the PBDS test are:

  • Do not waste time writing in full sentences. Use bullet points to list your information.
  • When listing your interventions, don't forget to put time intervals for procedures that need repeating.
  • Pay close attention to the video and note all the details. You never know what information you could need when writing your answer.
  • Pretend that you are actually in the scenario shown in the video and that you are acting out the procedures you are describing. Write down what you would do every step of the way.

Finally, the most important thing to do when taking the exam is to relax. As a nurse, you are expected to be able to remain calm in a variety of medical situations, so you want to exhibit this while taking the exam. If you are well prepared for the exam you should not have any problems. Several study resources can be found online and it is also a good idea to reach out for tips and guidelines from a nurse who has previously taken the exam.