Oh naw you didn’t! …
Sorry, you probably are asking this question very innocently but PAs get very disheartened by sentiments like this. No, we are not the same. PAs are educated and trained to diagnose and treat diseases. We are trained to take complete medical histories, do physical exams, order and interpret lab tests and imaging, write prescriptions, and know how and when to ask for further help from specialists, therapists, etc.
Could a good, proactive, experienced RN eventually figure out how to do many of these things? Probably, but it would be based mostly on protocol-type knowledge gained and algorithms vs well-rounded, organized medical training. This is why some RNs choose to become NPs, they want to expand on their on-the-job knowledge and fill it out more formally to fit the provider role.
Don’t get me wrong, RNs have an extremely important job. They are the ones who take care of all of the patient care orders I’ve requested, call me when I screw something up or when they know something is just not right with our patient, and deal with the real life poop, vomit, and tears situations in health care. In the inpatient world, they spend far more time with my patients than I do. I would want them to be the ones to insert your Foley catheter, start your IV and check for compatibilities, and know just how to give you your meds, because those are skills that RNs are much better trained on than I have been.
But the bottom line is that our roles and training are completely different.