Carol Gillis, Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound

A day in the life

Carol Gillis, Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound


By studying together in our interprofessional setting, Health Sciences students get a deeper understanding of the health professions and develop a mutual respect for their health-care colleagues.

Health-care detectives

Carol Gillis likes the investigative nature of her profession. As a diagnostic medical sonographer, she uses ultrasound to help find out what’s happening inside a patient’s body. And she knows that what she finds can make all the difference for that patient.

“You need to have critical thinking skills and be a bit of a detective,” she says. “You have to be able to make accurate and independent judgements. Each image must be evaluated and analyzed for any abnormality or pathology before being captured. Sonographers must be dedicated and seek the best possible results for their patients.”

Carol began her clinical career in her hometown of Charlottetown, but has been teaching Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound since 1993—first at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax and then at Dalhousie when it partnered with the QEII Health Sciences Centre to establish the School of Health Sciences in 1999. She first earned a diploma in Radiography from P.E.I.’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but has since received a BHSc in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound from Dal and a master’s degree in Education.

“I started in radiography and didn’t know that the field of sonography even existed,” she says. “Two sonographers worked in the diagnostic imaging department where I worked, and I was curious to learn more about ultrasound and how it was used to image internal organs, structures, and blood flow.”

Carol says a couple of the strengths of Dal’s Health Sciences program are its focus on collaboration and its small class sizes. With five accredited disciplines under one roof, her students benefit from studying and working in close proximity with peers in other healthcare fields. The program prepares them to graduate with the skills and confidence required for a career in ultrasound.

“It’s a wonderful blend of science and art,” she says. “There’s an adeptness that’s required for the technical side—you need to be adaptable and creative to acquire the best possible images. You never stop learning and the science is so interesting. I love watching my students’ confidence build.”