Jayden Stockley headed in for Preston and Owls’ defender Tom Lees turned the ball into his own net to give the home side a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Bruce described his side’s first-half showing as “awful”, but hailed Wednesday’s guts and determination as they dug deep from two goals down to claim a point.
Wednesday pulled one back when Barry Bannan fired home, before Alan Browne restored Preston’s two-goal lead with a fine finish.
Fernando Forestieri headed in to give Wednesday hope before Atdhe Nuhiu got on the end of Bannan’s delivery to head past Connor Ripley.
Bruce said: “We were just awful in the first half, but in the second we were a different team altogether.
“We started to play to our strengths more, and to be honest I think we could have gone on and won it.
“We had chances, one cleared off the line – I really enjoyed the second half.
“Of course it didn’t look ideal when we were 3-1 down, but credit to the lads for the way they’ve battled back into it.
“It was a great advert for Championship football. There were two teams of genuine, honest players out there. I think we’ve lost two in 19 games, and in anyone’s book I think that’s quite a turnaround. At the end of the season we’ll probably end up three or four points short (of the play-offs), and that’s a terrific effort considering where we were.
“It was always about getting ourselves back into contention, and I think we did that. I’ve been really pleased with everyone’s efforts since I came in here.”
Bruce is now starting to shift his attentions to the work ahead of him this summer. “At this moment it’s looking like there are going to be some big decisions for me to make in the summer, but we’ll look at what we’ve got in the squad once the season is over,” he said.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men late on when Dominic Iorfa clattered into Darnell Fisher, but they still almost nicked a victory when substitute Lucas Joao was denied by a goal-line clearance.
Preston North End: Ripley, Rafferty (Huntington 90), Storey, Davies, Fisher, Johnson, Gallagher, Maguire, Browne (Nmecha 74), Robinson (Ginnelly 87), Stockley. Unused substitutes: Rudd, Earl, Moult, Baxter.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Iorfa, Lees, Hector, Palmer, Marco Matias, Pelupessy, Bannan, Onomah (Nuhiu 67), Forestieri (Kieran Lee 84), Fletcher (Lucas Joao 77). Unused substitutes: Fox, Hooper, Boyd, Wildsmith.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).