Half of me wants to tell you to just move on to another field, and half of me wants to tell you to stick it out. I don't want to be completely negative and I don't want to give you false hope either. I see many people my age make some very bad decisions, all without thinking about what happens later. I feel for you, I really do, because it is easy to get caught up in the system when you're young.
I've read stories on here about nurses who have gotten their license and jobs with criminal records, but their case varies. However, if I was in this situation, I would move onto another field. You seem smart, there's tons of other options available. You said you had several convictions and are a felon, odds are stacked up against you. I have one pending minor in consumption charge that I am seriously freaking out about when it comes to licensing time. I'm also worried about being employable. Seems like you did your research, noticing that policies are stricter, and in this economy, I wouldn't shell out $$$ for nursing school
and graduate but in the end be told you can't get licensed by the boards. Higher education is an investment, so do it wisely.