Nurse Career Battery

  1. Recently I realized that most hospitals in my area require the NCB Nurse Career Battery exam prior to granting an interview. The test is designed to identify non-clinical aspects of an applicant such as dealing with conflict, communication, and work ethic etc.. I was surprised to find that there is not much information available about the exam. Neither Google nor searching this site turn up any substantial information besides a link to the company's PDF DDI research, best practice articles and case studies | DDI that explains the gist of the test.

    We are all in this together, and I think that this thread should be a place where people can share information, discuss the exam etc..

    One question that I have is wether the test considers going to the nurse manager negatively or positively. For example, one question asks about how you would deal with being oriented by an impolite co-worker who doesn't handle admissions and discharges effectively. One choice was to ignore the behavior and continue working as usual, the other choices involved various changes or interventions. Do they want to see that you can just get on with it/ grin-and-bear-it, or that you are pro-active in appropriately altering the situation to get the learning experience necessary (ie- ask mgr if you may have the opportunity to go through admission/ discharge with another unit nurse)?

    Another aspect that the exam coves is how nurses deal with uncertainty. In the exam there are questions about how you feel about ambiguity (ie- do people who take a long time to make decisions bother you, is it troubling to you when someone says something that can mean more than one thing, do you have to know why something has happened right away etc.) It is unclear to me what they are looking for precisely. I think that uncertainty is tolerated very differently depending on the circumstance. It is a huge problem if a provider's instructions for patient care are uncertain. At the same time, being flexible and willing to quickly adapt to new clinical units and situations where you need to work well with unfamiliar team members is desirable. If anyone has a handle on what they are looking for in this regard, please say so!

    Also, is it pass/fail or are they looking for a certain score?

    Please contribute to the discussion. As nurses we need to help one another and keep up with what's coming down the pike!
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    About RNchemo

    Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 17; Likes: 3
    Specialty: Oncology


  3. by   nursinadream
    Wow, you gave a good summary of that test. I applied for a seasonal position in Florida. The battery was the first thing I was required to do, even before knowing about my experience or work history. The employment agent did ask me to fill out an application and resume the next week, so I believe my test indicated my suitability for the job. Ha! The battery has been discussed some on another forum I read, Delphi, frequented by travel nurses. All the posters there found it completely baffling and most have refused to be considered for a job that requires it.
    We can discuss the content of the battery but we sue don't know what they're looking for.
  4. by   noahsmama
    I haven't ever had to take this test (thank goodness!), but I've been through interviews where I was asked quite a few questions about how I handle conflict with co-workers. I think what they want to hear is that you know how to address issues by appropriately using the chain of command. So, if you have a conflict or problem with a co-worker, you're generally supposed to try to address it directly with the co-worker first, by trying to talk to them about it. If that doesn't work, you then go to your nurse manager next.

    So, in the example you gave, I think the right response would be that you try to talk to the person who is orienting you first about their impoliteness and the issues you have with how they handle admissions and discharges. If there is no change in their behavior, you then go to your nurse manager to share your concerns. Asking for someone else to orient you on admissions and discharges might be part of this discussion, but I don't think that would be the whole answer -- even if you have someone else to orient you, if the other person is truly not handling admissions and discharges in an appropriate way, that is an issue that will need to be addressed for the sake of the patients, whether you are orienting with that person or not.

    As for uncertainty, it seems to me that they would want someone who is not freaked out by uncertainty, but knows how to deal with it. I think this would include taking steps to reduce the uncertainty, especially in situations where uncertainty might be bad for your patients -- such as the example you gave of a provider giving ambiguous instructions for patient care. So, you're not freaked out by uncertainty, but you don't just ignore it either.

    But those are just my guesses -- have no idea if they're right or not.

    And I have to say that I really HATE tests like this, or even the idea of tests like this being used to weed out job candidates. Seems like total BS to me, that might just as easily "weed out" good candidates as "bad" ones. DDI is selling a product, but I bet they're also the ones doing the research on how effective the product is -- personally, if I were a hiring manager, I would want to see INDEPENDENT research on the effectiveness of this tool before I would implement it. Maybe such independent research actually exists, but I kind of doubt it (among other things, I think googling this test would turn up more than just the links to the company that sells it if any independent research existed).

    If there are any hiring managers reading this who use this tool, or are familiar with it, I would love to hear what your experience and opinions are about it (and I imagine the OP would too!). I'm very curious about it.

    Good luck with your job search RNchemo!
  5. by   angelfood45
    I think some of the experienced nurses can no longer think in black and white. it is not realistic to think that we could. We have gone though these same experiences and handled each one according to the patient's need and managements expectations. Good folks that are hard working and love caring for others, can not be judged by this battery.

    I was really expecting clinical information, and confident that I would pass. But didn't

    I recall answering questions about my personal demographics. I regret doing it now. One section of the test asks you to reveal your age, sex and nationality. Under the contract with DDI there exists a cushion between the organization and the EEOC, the testing program is sold with this advantage clearly stated.
    What makes me uncomfortable is that you are not offered your results and can not obtain them.
    Under this contract the hiring organization is promised the benifit of safety from civil liberty, in that it makes possible for the test to be factored by of one of those vital statistics (age, race, sex) and the organization remains safely inside of the law, while discriminating factors are available to factor into the testing process.
    This demographic question section is cleverly sandwiched between the test question sections and you are instructed to answer each section in the order they are presented.
    Not a faie tool.
  6. by   Lrome11
    I just got the email from a employer in Nevada to take test I found this article helpful even though I haven't taken yet How to Take the Nursing Career Battery Test |
  7. by   nursepls
    You hit the nail on the head! I've taken two types of career batteries; the one you mentioned above, and another one called "driving nurse attributes" test. They are both similar. I passed both (surprisingly!!) and these are the tips I used...

    -The majority of your answers should be 1s or 5s. ("Extremely ineffective vs extremely effective") If you want to select "somewhat effective," just go all the way and click "extremely." If you are really, truly unsure, you can click somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but you should have very few answers like that.

    -For any scenario questions, always request feedback from the person you delegate to. Never "tell" someone to do something, "ask" them. Check in on them later, and offer feedback on their performance.

    -Know chain of command and scope of practice!!! If the question asks you whether you would involve your nurse manager, is it in her job description to help you?? I had a lot of questions about asking a coworker for help vs. having them do it for you. PAY ATTENTION TO WORDING. One of the hardest questions I saw was "your patient is taking a new medication you are unfamiliar with and exhibits an unusual symptom. Please rate the effectiveness of the following interventions. -> Solicit the input of a more experienced colleague (eg nurse manager, expert drug representative) to solve your problem for you" Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact wording, but it was tricky!! On one hand, patient safety is at stake... on the other, I'm not trying to look like the type of employee who pushes their work onto others. I ended up answering "very ineffective" because the manager's job does not include troubleshooting patient symptoms.

    -When they ask you to rate your personal qualities, rate all positive qualities the best and negative qualities the least. Humility has no place in this test. When they ask you about past patient experiences click "extensive experience/multiple times a week" for most of them (within reason)--if you are a new nurse, attribute the experience to your clinicals.

    Another question they kept asking... is whether you would "discuss" unit events with your coworkers. For instance, staffing shortages or confusing new policies. I tended to rate those as ineffective.

    I've heard from a few people that this test tends to be a little ageist. If you are an older nurse, you might consider getting a younger family member or friend to give you their input on the test. I think, as you said, it's because nurses with experience know that life is not black and white, and the things we do are rarely "extremely effective" or "extremely ineffective"!

    I also highly recommend reading the DDI pamphlet

    It was a very difficult test!!!!!!!!
  8. by   bande84
    Nursepls: would you be willing to help me? I'm about to take this test and would be so appreciative for your help! my email address is or send me yours and i'll email you!
  9. by   Piloscar
    I’m looking for a new RN job. I applied in 5 hospitals in my region. All of them require a nursing battery test or a similar test. From all the 3 I took within the past a week and half, only one recruiter was honest with me and informed me that I missed to pass the test by one letter grade and could no longer move on with the hiring process, although he told me earlier that the manager of the unit was very interested in interviewing me for the position I have applied for. The 3 others requested not to be contacted but they will contact the candidate based on the assessment results. I am a nurse with 4 years of experience. I became intimidate since I was told that I failed (the 2nd test). I don’t know the results of my other assessments and I can’t reach out to them regarding these tests. I don’t know where I’m standing with the application process. Does it take longer to hear from the HR after taking these types of test? I know the one I was told I failed was quickly because the manager of the unit wants to fill the position faster. Everything was done in one day ( I meant, I got a call from the recruiter, than he sent me the link during the interview and I had to inform him at the completion of the test. Last thing was “I’m sorry, you did not pass”.) Now, I am to take a similar test but I feel more intimidated than before. Is there tips fellow nurses can share with me at time to rebuild my confidence.
  10. by   AnnoyedNurse
    I'm applying for per diem jobs in NYC and it seems like the major hospitals that anyone would want to work for have implemented this battery. I am not sure how effective they are at choosing the right nurses. But I do hope I passed!