Facing Pilot Shortage, will California Give Flight Attendants More Authority to Fly the Plane?

What a ridiculous headline right? It’s not real. Thank goodness. But what is different than this:

Facing doctor shortage, will California give nurse practitioners more authority to treat patients?

NPs and PAs are not equal to MDs/DOs. The difference is a MASSIVE amount of education and training in the latter.

As California faces a growing shortage of primary care physicians, the Legislature is considering what backers believe could be a partial solution: allowing nurse practitioners who get additional training and certification to work independently. With that additional authority, they could treat patients without a “practice agreement” from a supervising physician outlining what they can do. It also would allow some nurse practitioners to open their own clinics without a doctor overseeing them.

The answer to fix the growing shortage of primary care physicians is to TRAIN MORE PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS! Open up more residencies. Make it more appealing for students to go into primary care (i.e. DPC). You would do the same if there was a pilot shortage. You would find a way to train more pilots.

And there are no autopilots in medicine.

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  7 comments for “Facing Pilot Shortage, will California Give Flight Attendants More Authority to Fly the Plane?

  1. Mamadoc
    February 19, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Remind me not to get sick in California

  2. Aaron M. Levine
    February 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Remember the Barefoot Practionners used in China in the early 1970s for their doctor shortage. Minimally trained, but given credentials.

  3. Vance Lassey
    February 19, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    … *crickets*…

    That’s how you know your analogy is strong.

  4. Steve O
    February 17, 2020 at 9:13 am

    The headline question is not as unreal as it sounds. The more commercial airplane flight automation pushes the meat out of the seat, the cockpit went from 3 pilots to two pilots, and Boeing was chasing the “to err is human” assumption which may have crashed the whole company. The goal is pilotless airplanes, like driverless cars and doctorless clinics. Sound familiar? As long as the acceptable death margin is attained, ‘sfine.

  5. steven Mussey
    February 17, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Hey! Flight attendants at least will talk to me when flying the plane! I can’t understand those pilots when they talk to us. They use big words and I can’t figure out what they are saying….
    The flight attendants are much nicer! I think the flight attendants care more than those pilots!

  6. February 17, 2020 at 8:29 am


    As you know, I live in a rural state with which you are very familiar. Many years ago, the NP lobby successfully convinced legislators that allowing independently practicing NPs would solve the PCP crisis because they would all do primary care in underserved areas.

    Fast forward to today…The underserved areas are just as underserved. Most of the NPs are practicing in the suburbs, competing with MDs/DOs. Not surprisingly, most eventually leave primary care to work as ‘dermatology NPs’ or ‘psychiatric NPs’ and make more than the physicians doing primary care.

    The governor just signed a bill to allow PA’s to practice independently within the past few days. This will fix the problem this time for sure. What could go wrong?!

    • Pat
      February 17, 2020 at 9:27 am

      A couple months ago I was making fun of “the LELT’s [who] proclaim their inestimable goodness for working in ‘underserved areas,’ which increasingly will come to be mean toney suburban minute clinics wedged in between the local Target and Starbucks.”

      Can’t wait for the usual defenders of the underserved to show up with their customary outrage.

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