I am a former teacher who changed careers to nursing. I decided to go back to school for nursing because it has more flexibility than teaching. I didn't have a problem getting teaching jobs, but I got so tired of some of the things that take place within the educational system. For some reason, I think many people think that teachers have it better than most because they get holidays and summers off. While nursing certainly has its pros and cons like any other profession, I can honestly say that I am so glad that I went to nursing school. I find it to be much more flexible, better paying, and rewarding than teaching ever was for me. I also find it less stressful than teaching. Of course, nursing can be incredibly stressful, but it is just a different type of stress. For me, it is easier to manage than the stress of teaching. That is just my own personal opinion.
As for the student loans, I really understand how you feel. I took out loans for undergraduate and graduate school. When I went back to school for nursing, more student loans was not an option for me. So, I chose to go through the RN program at my local community college so that I could afford to go without more student loans. The hospital that I am working at now will pay for my RN-BSN program. I think that was a wise financial decision for me. Of course, I would have loved to get my BSN right away, but it just wasn't financially possible for me to do that. I cashed in my teacher's retirement when I quit teaching and used that to pay for my school and to live on until I graduated. I was extremely nervous about doing that because I knew what it would mean if I ended up hating nursing. I would have to start my retirement all over if I ever go back to teaching.
Fortunately, you are young. You have plenty of time to decide what you want to do. If you feel like you would like to go to nursing school, you should go for it. You are right about the teaching jobs. Although I really didn't have a problem finding a job, there were more available at that time. Right now, school districts are under a lot of pressure to cut teaching staff because of the economy and their budgets. So, a lot of new grads are having a hard time finding jobs. It is getting difficult to even find jobs as a sub in many districts. They are getting an overwhelming number of applications. Anyway, whatever you choose, I wish you lots of luck.