Speaking of magic, though, that's what it might take for some nurses to suddenly start eating right, especially with all that junk food you might be wolfing down on those extra-short breaks. Fear not, Al Bochi, Love and other dieticians aren't going to judge. And they do allow that vitamins and other dietary supplements can give an eating plan a small boost. "If you feel that you are not getting a variety of foods into your meals then you may need a supplement such as a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium or fish oil, to name a few," Al Bochi notes.
Love adds that while she wouldn't make a blanket policy of putting anyone on a supplement, some of them are "helpful when someone has poor eating habits." If you cannot or will not get enough dairy, sure, go for a calcium supplement. But make sure you don't take calcium and iron at the same time (this is common in many multivitamins), because they compete for absorption. "I recommend my clients take calcium in the morning and iron at night after they have food in their system," Love says. "That will buffer the iron supplement from causing any stomach ailments." Love also recommends antioxidant vitamins for anyone who doesn't eat enough fruits and vegetables.
As for knowing if you need a supplement or not, the best approach is simply to evaluate your nutrient intake using one of the common apps available online. A dietitian consult might also be a good idea - and they are much easier to find than magicians.