Occupy EMS 2.0

Over the last month, I have been trying to follow the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I say “trying” because I have a tough time figuring out what their unified message really is.  Their communication attempts with the public have been highly ineffective and fractured.  No one seems to want to speak for the group, and all that seems to keep coming out is “down with big business!”

Ironically, most of what I have read has been via social media through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  I must say, I find it rather amusing to see someone send a Tweet out about how bad corporate America is, and on the bottom of the box on Tweetdeck, it reads “Sent via Twitter for iPhone.”  That’s right: this person who is bad mouthing corporate America is paying a monthly bill to it to be able to share their message.

Change takes time and efforts.  One Tweet I saw that I found to be particularly interesting was one that read: “I was promised a job, go to college, get a job is the promise, I did my part.”  If a person wants real accomplishment they cannot sit back and expect it to be handed to them on a silver platter.  There is a certain level of personal responsibility that comes along with it and sometimes things take a little more work than expected.  You cannot always expect people to meet you half way.  Sometimes, you need to go a little farther.

Much like Occupy Wall Street, EMS 2.0 is a grass roots “bottom up” movement spearheaded by street providers to try and enhance their ability to do their job.  I think that there some important lessons that those of us who are invested in EMS 2.0 can take from what I feel are some glaring failures of the Occupy Wall Street movement:

1.  Have a message — Don’t just blindly demand change.  Know what you are asking for, and have someone who is willing to step forward and speak for the group.  Show your numbers, but have a plan!

2.  Don’t demand change, make it — Far too often, we look at those around us and above us and say “it is broken, fix it!”  That does not work.  In order to be part of an effective movement, one needs to be willing to expel some energy to make that change happen.  Entitlement will get you nothing.  Formulating a reasonable plan to drive change is what really works.

3.  Know your audience — We all speak different languages.  Doctors respond to evidence based arguments, service administrators respond to the all mighty bottom line, the press might respond to a “feel good” piece, and city officials respond to the outcry and demands of their voters.  When crafting a message, make sure it is tailored to who it is going to impact.  Speaking the wrong language to the wrong group will get you nowhere.

4.  Be patient — Change takes time and as a movement grows so does its expectations.  Change does not happen overnight, and problems are not always solved quickly.  Theories need to be tested and revisions made.  Rarely is a first draft 100% perfect.

5.  Be willing to compromise — While you might not get everything at once, that does not mean it is not all going to happen.  Sometimes you need to be willing to settle for a small win to open the door to bigger gains.  For example: in the last year, the pain management protocol has become considerably more liberal, giving the paramedic better means by which to control a patient’s pain.  This gives EMS a great chance to show their clinical judgment skills proving to the medical director that other proposed changes should be explored and evaluated.

6.  Respect is everything — Like it or not, there are people out there who know more than you do.  Sometimes a group has to realize that they are going to catch more bees with honey, and even look at little better to those who might be doubting your message.  Constantly shouting in opposition of others’ views in a purely argumentative way is never productive.

While I may agree with some of the fragmented ideas that have come out of Occupy Wall Street, I feel their methods to spread these messages have been ineffective and self-destructive to their movement.  Leading change takes more than a cardboard sign and some Sharpie markers, it takes organization, leadership, and a unified message.

EMS 2.0 already has a lot of that, now we just need to share our message the right way.  It is too bad the folks in Zuccotti Park have not learned from their own mistakes.


  1. Anonymous /

    We might also, unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement, try putting down the bong and Cheetos before we figure our demands.

  2. I support American Citizens Right to protest. They are being denied medical attention and sanitary conditions. People have offered to pay for and provide potable toilets. People have brought food and water and other supplies. It is the policy of NYPD to deny safe conditions to the protestors and then take abusive action to remove them. Innocent people have been subjected to harsh and abusive behavior.
    I am an EMT and I want to help them and I can’t.
    We should all be outraged.