Child Life Month Alumni Spotlight: Henry

Name: Henry DeArcia
Degree and Graduation Year: BS Child Life, with a minor in business administration, class of 2013. Henry obtained his CCLS in 2014.

Tell us about your ECU experience? 
As the first person to attend college, ECU provided me with many great opportunities to learn and grow. The college of Health and Human Performance allowed me to hone in on my personal skills and find a career I truly find rewarding.  

How did you become interested in the Child Life field?
I have always wanted to work with children. I was introduced to child life my junior year of college and was fascinated by the coping and psychosocial aspects of helping children succeed. 

What were some of your favorite Child Life courses at ECU?
My favorite child life classes were my practicum and internship where I got to interact with patients and their families directly.

Can you describe your job/role/current employer? 
I currently work at UNC Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic where I assess patient and family needs to help them cope with new diagnoses, help patients understand procedures they may encounter, and cope with the stress of being in a hospital setting.

What is a typical day like for you? 
Every day is unique and different. The clinic serves different hematological and oncological diagnoses and each has their own set of challenges. I can be engaging in medical play, to teaching a patient about a new diagnosis, then providing distraction for a procedure to creating legacy items for an end of life situation.  

What has been your favorite experience working in Child Life so far? 
Anytime I see a patient overcome adversity and be able to walk out of the clinic/hospital serves as great reminder that I’m helping to make a difference. I value the rapport and relationships I build with the patients and their families.

Where do you see the future of Child Life heading? 
I foresee the profession continue to grow and expand more outside of the healthcare setting and into the community moreso then it is now.

What is the greatest challenge Child Life Specialists face? 
Funding and educating others on child life and its services continues to be one of the greatest challenges that faces the field of child life.

What advice would you give to students who wish to enter this field? 
Definitely do your research and due diligence in the career in child life to become educated on what it entails. It’s not all about playing with children. There are some really tough aspects that can be hard to handle but choosing a career in child life is very rewarding.