Title: Registered Nurse (Retired), Piano Teacher
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, United States
Polly Gh Tan, RN, retired registered nurse and piano teacher, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Nurses for dedication, achievements, and leadership in nursing and arts education.
Ms. Tan’s interest in medicine began while caring for her mother as she fought cancer. After receiving a misdiagnosis that delayed her treatment, Ms. Tan’s mother required significant assistance managing her pain at home. While Ms. Tan’s sister was studying medicine at the time, she was too far away to help, and Ms. Tan stepped in to help her mother. Unexpectedly, she found a sense of validation in helping her, and after a friend suggested that she pursue a career in nursing, she applied for nursing school in the UK. When her application was approved, she relocated from her native Malaysia to the UK to begin her studies, recalling that the curriculum was largely based on practical and clinical experience at the time. After training in both England and Scotland, she was certified as a nurse and midwife in 1967.
In 1973, Ms. Tan moved to the United States, settling in Michigan. She spent two years working in the maternity ward of a hospital in Detroit before relocating to Royal Oak, a suburb of the city. Ms. Tan spent the next 31 years working in the Royal Oak area as a registered nurse before her retirement, receiving more than 50 outstanding patient evaluations and no negative feedback over the course of her career. In addition to her career in medicine, Ms. Tan is a gifted pianist and completed a Bachelor of Arts in music at Oakland University while working as a nurse. She studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, and spent much of her career teaching piano to children and adults in her free time.
In her retirement, Ms. Tan plays piano at three local churches and has been able to teach some of her former patients. She considers it a gift to have been able to get to know her patients and develop relationships with them, including being invited to perform at the wedding of a woman whom she cared for as an infant. Beyond medicine or music, traveling the world is Ms. Tan’s lifelong passion, and she has been able to visit more than 60 countries and see the Seven Wonders of the World, a dream she had held since high school. Ms. Tan hopes to inspire other retired professionals to realize that they are capable of working with their communities, passing on their skills, and helping those less fortunate than themselves.
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