Take a deep breath. Try to relax. This assessment has been around for 20 years - extremely valid and reliable. It is not inexpensive. Organizations that use it are demonstrating they have a commitment to competency and nursing practice.
In my nurse educator) opinion, PBDS is the 'gold standard' in nursing competency assessment. It is a long (~5 hours total) one that consists of several parts - all online. The most important part is a series of 3-5 minute video vignettes. You will watch each one (carefully, because you cannot replay it). Then, you are presented with a blank screen (no multiple choice, true false, matching, etc) and you have to actually type your responses:
1. What is the patient's problem? You can use nursing diagnosis or medical terminology but if you use NDx, you have to put in all three parts.
2. You have to indicate what you are going to do for this patient.. List EVERYTHING in detail. If you are going to call the doctor, be sure to list exactly what you are going to tell her - same with calling charge nurse. If you are anticipating getting any type of orders, be sure to include that "prepare for IV start". List all the interventions you can do without Drs orders such as re-positioning for drainage or comfort measures for pain.
3. Indicate which of the things you listed in #2 are the highest priority
4. State your rationale for each of the high priority interventions
TIPS- Read and listen carefully to the directions for each section. Include everything in your response - the rate cannot read your mind or determine what you were thinking.
Your responses will be analyzed and rated by an actual human nurse who has received extensive training in this tool & the qualitative analytic process. She will compare your answers to the standard ones. The rater will take into consideration your experience and background... new grads are not expected to respond in the same way as experienced nurses.
In ~3 days, you will receive feedback in a face-to-face meeting with an educator. He will review your results, including any gaps that have been identified & go over a customized development plan to help you develop skills/competency to meet the gaps.
Depending on your own results, you may be re-assessed (much shorter process) after a period of time just to make sure that your developmental goals were accomplished.
I don't know of any way to really study for this. If you are a new grad, your assessment scenarios will reflect MedSurg situations - nothing tricky. They are all situations that commonly occur in MedSurg. (Experienced nurses' assessments include scenarios and situations that are relevant to the patient population that they have been working with - Critical Care, OB, Pedi, etc.)
Wow!! I had no idea it was so involved!! Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed response. I will probably just try to review some basic stuff before the exam. I really appreciate the info.