How Susana Made a Career Change From Nursing to Product Design

After a decade in healthcare, Susana sought a more balanced lifestyle and decided to explore UX/UI design. She’s now working as a product designer at This is her nursing career change story.

by Alison Lightfoot on 22 August 2023

Susana Roque Nunes, who made a career change from nursing and became a product designer at after studying UX design at CareerFoundry

When you think of a nurse, you probably won’t immediately associate the profession with design. However, making the switch to UX or product design is definitely possible—just ask Susana. After a decade working in the healthcare sector, she took the plunge and made a total career change from nursing to design when she realized she needed a better work-life balance.

Now, having graduated from CareerFoundry’s UX Design Program, she is making waves in the tech industry as a successful product designer at

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to explain that product design and UX design are different professions but very similar on paper. It’s one of the reasons the two roles are so interchangeable—product designers often become UX designers and vice versa. So even though Susana graduated from a UX design course, she could still land a job as a product designer.

In fact, Susana explained to us that the work she’s doing at is very much that of a UX designer, so you’ll notice both terms are used in this article. Find out more about the similarities and differences between UX and product design in this article.

Right, on with the story!

Susana’s background

As a devoted mother and wife, family has always taken center stage for Susana. A self-confessed ‘people-person’, she’s always enjoyed helping others, which is what initially drew her to a career in nursing. But eventually, Susana found herself yearning for more:

“I was a nurse for 10 years but I reached a point where I just wanted more for myself and for my family. I wanted a more balanced lifestyle and wanted to be more present in my son’s life.”

Why she chose CareerFoundry

When Susana discovered UX/UI design, it piqued her interest. She began wondering how to learn more and so started searching for online courses and bootcamps.

At the time, she was actually suffering from long COVID, so the typical in-person classroom structure wasn’t feasible. She needed a course that offered flexibility and adaptability to her unique situation. That’s when she stumbled upon CareerFoundry:

“I couldn’t keep up with a full day of in-person classes, so I needed someplace where I could learn online and at my own pace. I found CareerFoundry through the free short courses which was very helpful to understand if I was changing into the right career. I really liked the way they presented the lessons and the other requirements were also met; the programs are all online, self-paced, and flexible to fit around your life.”

A quote from Susana about her career change from nursing to product design

Program highlights and challenges

One of Susana’s highlights of her time at CareerFoundry was the opportunity to specialize her UX skillset after completing the Immersion program (the bulk of her studies). She focused on developing her visual design skills by taking the UI for UX Designers Specialization Course.

A screenshot taken from Susana’s portfolio project, completed during the UI for UX Designers Specialization Course at CareerFoundry
To see more of Susana’s work, check out the project on her portfolio website.

Of course, her overall journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. During her studies, she had to grapple with her own insecurities and doubts about making such a significant career transition:

“The biggest challenge was handling my own insecurities. There were times when I was afraid that changing career was the wrong decision and that I would never be prepared enough to get a job as a UX/UI designer.”

Landing her first job as a product designer

Nearing the end of her studies, Susana began to send out some CVs and applications while still completing the Job Preparation Course at CareerFoundry. Despite receiving numerous rejections, she remained optimistic and eventually saw an opportunity for a summer internship at

“I was really lucky as I didn’t spend a lot of time job searching. I started as a product designer intern at and it led to a full-time position, so that after 4 months I became a junior product designer!

We work with SAFe framework on a cross-functional team. We have front and backend engineers, as well as teams working on quality assurance, data analytics, and customer insights (who also take on some UX research tasks). I work with a senior colleague on those projects who also helped me evolve a lot since I joined.”

Of course, we all know the renowned automotive brand Mercedes-Benz, but what exactly do the team do? Unlike the main brand’s focus on physical vehicles, specializes in digital services, user interfaces, and software development to enhance customer interactions, connectivity, and technology for its customers.

Talking about a typical working week at, Susana is keen to share the details of a glimpse into her regular tasks and routines:

“In a normal week we tend to focus on rapid prototyping, so each weekend we can test new features with users (we are very user-centric). We receive the new tasks and requirements, we have meetings to understand the problem with the product owner, and then we start to ideate.

For that we have brainstorming meetings with the full team to use everyone’s potential and creativity. Then we iterate those ideas into high-fidelity designs and create prototypes. In short: I have a lot of meetings, time to design, and conduct user tests!”

Recommended reading: What is product design?

Reflecting on her career change from nursing to product design

Asking Susana about the most rewarding part of her new career, she happily admits that she achieved the better work-life balance she set out to acquire in the beginning, as working remotely in her role at allows her to have more time for herself and her family.

But it might surprise you to hear she’s also putting her previous experience to use and seeing her transferable skills in a new light:

“I continue to help people and use my previous interpersonal skills, and now I am actually recognized and valued for it. I love the teamwork and seeing the designs grow and launch.”

She’s even able to use the skills and teachings she acquired from her journey to product design to guide others making a career change from nursing, reinforcing her own progress in the process:

A quote from Susana about her career change from nursing to product design

Susana’s future aspirations and career advice

So what does the future hold for Susana’s career in tech? She’s currently enjoying the journey and is excited to see where it leads. In her words, she feels that now “the sky is the limit!”

Sharing her advice for others thinking of making a transition to a more rewarding and aspirational career, Susana offers:

“Don’t give up. Sometimes it’s hard and we feel uncertain, but it is totally worth it! Connect with other colleagues and be curious, ask questions. It is never too late to pursue your dreams.”

Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve found Susana’s career change story inspiring, and you can see it’s never too late to follow your passion and start over in a new industry! With the right mindset and resources, transitioning to a new career in tech is not only possible but can also lead to extraordinary success, like Susana!

What you should do now

If you’re wondering how to make a career change from nursing like Susana did, check out this article from Indeed for some helpful tips, and be sure to evaluate your transferable skills and soft skills because they will serve you well during your nursing career change journey.

If you’re curious to find out if a career in tech is right for you, why not take a page from Susana’s book and kick off your search with a free short course from CareerFoundry? Take your pick from UX design, UI design, product management, data analytics, digital marketing, and web development and get a taste of what it’s like to work in tech.

To find out more about what it’s like to study at CareerFoundry, book a free call with one of our expert program advisors. There’s no commitment but they’ll talk you through the process and help plan your next steps to becoming a tech professional.

Looking for more inspiring stories? Hear from other CareerFoundry graduates who made a successful career change from the healthcare industry:

by Alison Lightfoot on 22 August 2023

About the author

Alison Lightfoot

Originally from northern England, Alison’s marketing background ranges from gaming, to sports, to the arts. When she’s not writing about CareerFoundry’s inspiring alumni, she can be found doing yoga, reading a weird book, or exploring new restaurants and cafes around Berlin.