By Joy Johnston, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

EMERSON, N.J. — An age-defying nurse in New Jersey has no plans to retire, even at the age of 97.

Kathryn Hodges, Emerson’s public health nurse, is a bit of a rock star in the town’s health care community, and for good reason. Hodges is New Jersey’s oldest practicing registered nurse, according to

In addition to performing her part-time nursing duties, Hodges walks unassisted and is still driving. She doesn’t like to talk about the r-word, retirement. “I want to leave this Earth with my boots on,” Hodges told

Hodges finished nursing school in 1941 and has been Emerson’s public health nurse since 1967. The job focuses on health screenings, disease prevention and patient education. Those who have worked with her say that Hodges is a positive force who enjoys engaging with her patients and helping them with their health issues.

While Hodges’s career longevity is unusual, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 90-and-older age group is a fast-growing population in the United States.

At 97-years-old this nurse isn’t retiring for a heartwarming reason.

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