Yes, I would say that taking out loans of some sort is definitely the norm. Other than the few and far between full scholarships (most often in BSN programs) ya gotta pay for it somehow, and I don't know anyone who truly has $15,000 or so just laying around for no other purpose. Education is an investment.
I don't know what state you're in, but in some areas hospitals have included loan/tuition forgiveness as a sign-on bonus incentive, so you may get some repayment relief from loans you take out as a student. You can check with your state too -- here in PA there is a nursing loan forgiveness program which will forgive a certain portion of your student loans.
You can also think about your individual financial situation -- if you own your home you might be able to pay for school with a home equity loan. The interest will most likely be tax-deductible and you can also claim at least some portion of your tuition toward the Hope Credit on your federal tax return.
Hope this helps. Good luck!