Friar Juan de Mena...first American Male Nurse

by Thunderwolf Thunderwolf, MSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health. Has 32 years experience.

Seventy years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, Fray (Friar) Juan de Mena was shipwrecked off the south Texas Coast. He is the first identified nurse in what was to become the United States.

Friar Juan de Mena received an arrow in the back; and with other Spaniards, he died after going a little more than a quarter of a league. From the time this friar donned the habit in Santo Domingo of Mexico, he lived an exemplary life. Among his virtues, especially noteworthy was the humble charity with which he tended the sick. He was Mexico's nurse, esteemed and praised for his diligence until the time he was deceived, along with others, into leaving his province for Spain and was led to his death.

From Documentary sources for the Wreck of the New Spain Fleet Prepared by David McDonald Translator and J. Barto

Arnold III State Marine Archeologist, Texas Antiquities Committee Publication No. 8, p. 235

Edited by Joe V

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