Five Steps to Passing the PBDS Exam for Travel Nurses
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Posted about 1 year ago
Perhaps you know the feeling – sweaty palms, heart racing, maybe a little nausea? No need for any of these if you are a travel nurse and your next assignment requires the Performance Based Development System (PBDS) assessment.
To alleviate my stress, and in order to be a productive, successful PBDS examinee, I followed the five steps below. Although following these steps will not guarantee success, they will address the common concerns and assist the PBDS examinee in organizing the knowledge needed in passing the PBDS. Get your free PBDS study guide here.
■Review what you take for granted. The PBDS uses video vignettes that pertain to patient care situations you may be presented with during your shift. You will need to diagnose, prioritize your treatment, and give rationale for each treatment given. You know how to treat your patient in real life, now you’re asked to do it on paper or in front of a computer monitor. Mentally “walk” into your patient’s room and assess your patient. “See” what’s going on. “Listen” to what you patient is telling you. Walk in, wash your hands, introduce yourself – write step by step instructions as if you were explaining to another nurse exactly what you do from one minute to the next.
■Review online, but be cautious! This, being the age of the Internet, a myriad of information on anything imaginable, is available - the PBDS is no different. Be careful of the many cyber-blogs out there; most are negative and nothing but a stage to vent anonymously. Many travel nursing agencies have a section devoted to the PBDS. Your recruiter may have information regarding the test, and suggest sites to search.
■Do not take the test personally. According to Carol Tuttas in a recent article on the Healthcare Traveler Magazine website, there are over 800 hospitals nationwide using the PBDS system of staff and temporary staff competency evaluation. The test assesses three skill sets: critical thinking (problem recognition, risk management, priority setting), inter-personnel relations (team building, conflict resolution, customer satisfaction) and technical skills (safe, effective, efficient skills). Hospitals using this assessment are interested in your ability to demonstrate the skills listed above and that’s all they are judging at this point.
■Rest, relax and be yourself! How many times have you heard “get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy breakfast” before any big event? This advice holds true with the PBDS. If you can, take the night before the test completely off. Don’t study or review. Enjoy the evening. The test can take up to 4+ hours depending on where you are. Go to bed at a reasonable time so you can wake up refreshed and ready to go. Eat a good, balanced breakfast. Breaks may or may not be provided, so plan accordingly: Proteins instead of sugar, and don’t go crazy with the coffee – try to avoid a “crash” in the middle of testing. Most importantly, be yourself – be the great nurse you are! Be specific in your answers and take care of your “patient”. You’ll be fine and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about!