Couple share passion for nursing

Kisha Penn (left) and Tyne Penn.

If you’ve had surgery at St. Francis Hospital, chances are Kisha Penn was the operating room charge nurse.

Spend any time in the hospital’s Neurospine unit? Maybe Tyne Penn was the nurse who took care of you or a relative.

Nursing is a family affair for this Summerville couple.

The Penns, married for 11 years, juggle shifts, including three-day, 12-hour ones: she works days; he nights. It allows them to be at home with their children — 7, 4 and 10 months.

They are passionate about what they do.

“I love being able to help people, interact with them and see them get better,” Tyne said.

Kisha makes sure some 35 surgeries a day are done according to procedure, and “I put out fires.”

The stress can be intense, but she loves it. She works with a great team. “I have fun.”

Tyne taught biology and coached football and track at Goose Creek High before going back for his nursing degree in 2009. Kisha graduated from Charleston Southern University in 2000.

The two were college sweethearts.

Her first impression of him: “He was loud, and I thought he was crazy.”

He was in the school lounge wearing a “big purple jacket,” impersonating Prince, trying to impress her.

She wasn’t. Tyne smiles as he helps tell the story. He thinks the song was “Let’s Go Crazy.”

He was persistent; the two became best friends. “He was easy to talk to, and I could be myself around him.”

Now, despite their busy schedule, the 35-year-olds make time for each other and their children. They have dinner together every night. Tyne still impersonates Prince but now mostly likes reggae, contemporary gospel and R&B.

They talk about job stresses but limit shop talk.

As a male nurse, Tyne said he walked into a patient’s room once and heard, “Oh, no.”

Young women, especially, don’t like having a male nurse, he said. He goes out of his way to make them comfortable.

For most, it’s not a problem.

Nursing is not the couple’s only passion. They work with youths at Charleston Church of Christ, where Tyne is a youth minister.

In July, they will take their oldest daughter and 26 others to Nicaragua on a 10-day mission.

Kisha, who grew up in a Brooklyn, N.Y., project, where she saw many drug deals, never wanted any youth to go through what she went through.

“So I’m tough. I love a lot, and I am real. I don’t judge, but I’m a drill sergeant, with a smile.”

The two are playful and fun-loving. When Kisha sends patients to his unit, she tells them “you are going to the floor with a great guy.”