The difference in doctors and nurse or PA training is that the doctors do those 10,000 hours before graduation, and the nurses and PAs do them on the job, earning about what the medical student does in his/her stipend, though the nurse gets paid by an employer. (Well, actually, the PA who is not a hospitalist will not be gaining those “see it all” hours in primary care; those you see in the acute care environment. But that’s another topic.)
You are extremely misguided on many aspects in regards to not only a PA education, but also a NP education. First of all, a NP program can take only a total of 5 years from freshman in college to NP to graduate. There are 1 year FNP programs FYI. I.E. - get your ADN, do an online BSN while acquiring the clinical experience, then 1 year of Masters. Not to mention, you can even obtain the FNP degree ONLINE. And a lot of these programs are pushing out highly unqualified NPs, because they only have to go to class 1 day a week and do 2-3 days of clinical a week. Most NPs have no clue what they are doing, and it is no wonder why I see hundreds of them lose their licenses because of unsafe and unethical practice every year. I would be more concerned with the fact that you can get an ADN , BSN, and MSN all online. How in the world does that signify competency? The Nurse Practitioner was originally created to aid in the shortage of doctors in rural areas, and quite frankly, should have remained that way. A NP's education is no where even comparable to a PA's. And no, PA's have a more substantial amount of clinical rotation hours required during their program, and take many of the same classes the first year that med students do their first and second. MD/DO graduates have residencies for a reason, and that is because they are no where near prepared yet, even after 4 years of insane post graduate study and clinic to be considered competent. That is way PA's are already having to go into residency programs after graduation, because the bottom line is, it is THAT important. NPs lack education and clinical hours in school and do not have enough supervised clinical hours after graduation, plan and simple. This is a harsh post, but you have to understand that practicing medicine is serious business and it should REQUIRE an MD or DO ONLY. NPs and PAs both just do not have the knowledge and expertise to be considered anything above a mid-level provider.*Furthermore, being a PCP is not about "seeing it all, know how to treat all". You sound incredibly ignorant. NPs have preceptors that must sign off on EvERYTHING they do just a little FYI, also. They are and never will have absolute autonomy. Not to mention, a PA can also own and operate his/her own clinic just as a NP can. There honestly is no difference, it is just the wording within the guidelines and laws that give you that misconception. And no, I am not a PA.