Student Spotlight: James Sobieski

Forefront Magazine, Spring 2019

By Caitlin Fertal | Forefront Magazine, Spring 2019

As a trainer for the Stop the Bleed program at Case Western Reserve University, second-year nursing student James Sobieski has taught life-saving skills to hundreds of students with Case Western Reserve University Emergency Medical Service (CWRU EMS).

Stop the Bleed is a federal program geared at preventing deaths due to blood loss. The course teaches the public how to provide aid until EMS arrives. Sobieski, who was the training director for CWRU EMS and is now the Emergency Management Program Intern in the Office of Emergency Management, is working to expand the program at the university.

"When you participate in a training course like this -- regardless of skill level -- you are more prepared to respond to an emergency; you make everyone safe every minute of every day just by being in the room," he said. "It's a pretty cool feeling."

When Sobieski first taught the Stop the Bleed program, he used makeshift materials purchased from a hardware store to demonstrate how to apply a tourniquet, bandages and gauze. He constructed fake limbs from pool noodles, and wired them with IV tubing to represent arteries.

CWRU Emergency Manager Megan Koeth attended the class and saw room for improvement. Seeing the need for more realistic materials, she arranged for the purchase of professional fake limbs and tourniquets. Koeth also made it possible for the university to place more than 100 Stop the Bleed kits containing emergency equipment across the campus.

Before starting his nursing education at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Sobieski studied computer science in San Francisco. He found the hyper-individualistic mentality of computer science was incompatible with his career coals and started looking for new options where he could make a difference and feel like a part of a positive community.

Sobieski shadowed personnel in a family friend's medical practice during spring break. Inspired by the way the staff cared for their patients, health care proved a better fit than Silicon Valley.

"Health care is really a team game from start to finish," Sobieski said. "Everyone wins or everyone loses together. That is the kind of place that I wanted to be."

Sobieski, who expects to graduate in the fall of 2020 with his BSN and hopes to work in the emergency room, is already logging his own wins.