GP: 9 Staff Qualifications, Roles and Training (New)

Effective Date: 03/08 Downloads: PDF Version    Revised Date: 06/17
   

Policy

Local agencies (LA) shall ensure all WIC staff meet minimum qualifications for hire, complete all mandatory training requirements (including breastfeeding training) for their position before assuming full duties for that position. Competence must be demonstrated in performing specific duties prior to serving in that capacity (e.g. Certification). Designated preceptors will ensure that LA CPAs and support staff are appropriately trained to perform assigned functions according to the WIC Staff Training Manual. All staff shall also complete annual civil rights trainings as well as meet continuing education requirements outlined in this policy.

Procedure

All employees working in the WIC Program must complete the standardized training modules for their position within a specified time period as described in the WIC Staff Training Manual. (Appendix GP: F).  A record of staff qualifications and completion of all competency-based trainings (degrees, training certificates or other official confirmations) must be kept on file at the local agency. (See Appendix GP: G for competency-based training completion log)

 

All Staff

Meet with LA breastfeeding coordinator within 1 week of hire

All WIC staff are required to meet with the LA breastfeeding coordinator immediately upon hire. At this meeting, the breastfeeding coordinator shall discuss why WIC supports breastfeeding, why breastfeeding is a priority, the LA breastfeeding promotion program, the breastfeeding promotional supplies available for distribution, the peer counseling program (if applicable), and the breast pump distribution program.

 

CPA

A WIC certified Competent Professional Authority (CPA) has the following qualifications:

  • Is a physician or nutritionist (Master’s or Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences, Community Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, Dietetics, Public Health Nutrition or Home Economics with emphasis in Nutrition), dietitian, registered nurse, physician’s assistant certified by the National Committee on Certification of Physician’s Assistants or certified by the State medical certifying authority, or a State or medically trained health official. [This definition also applies to an individual who is not on the staff of a local agency but who is qualified to provide data upon which nutritional risk determinations are made by a CPA on the staff of the local agency. (See Appendix GP: F for paraprofessionals)], AND
  • Must have literacy and language skills appropriate to address the needs of diverse participants.

A CPA must also complete the following competency-based training within the associated timeframes:

  • 17 training modules within 6 months of hire- CPAs and RD/Nutritionists are required to complete all 17 training modules. The training modules are self-paced. Nutritionists and RDs are exempt from completing the skills checklists and practical exam. Further guidance on completing the WIC training modules can be obtained by referencing the WIC CPA Training Manual.
  • Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition Course (MIECN)- eight week instructor led nutrition course is offered three times per year, and will be completed by all CPA trainees within the first 6 months of hire. RD/Nutritionists this course is optional.  The passing score is 80% or better.
  • 35 hour breastfeeding training within 1 year of hire – All CPAs, RDs, and Nutritionists are required to complete this comprehensive breastfeeding training once every five (5) years. Staff can attend a course offered by the State WIC Office or another similar course.

 

Individual local agencies can set requirements higher than the state minimums, but not lower. Any special circumstances must be approved by the State WIC Office.

 

Online MIECN and CPA Module Refresher Courses are required to be completed every five years from date of initial completion.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

A certified CPA can perform the following roles:

  • Assesses and documents a participant’s nutrition risk(s).
  • Prescribes food packages.
  • Provides nutrition education, including breastfeeding promotion and support that is responsive to the identified needs/interests of each participant.
  • Conducts breastfeeding assessment for all breastfeeding women.
  • Identifies the need for individual care plans.
  • Refers participants to other health and social services and provides appropriate follow-up to referrals.
  • Implements individual care plans for low-risk participants.
  • When the CPA is a qualified nutritionist, implements individual care plans for high-risk participants, otherwise, identifies and refers high-risk participants to a qualified nutritionist or RD.
  • Documents nutrition services provided, including referrals and follow-up to referrals.
  • Ensures that screening and referrals for lead testing and immunizations using a documented immunization record is performed.CPA-Trainee (CPAT) 
  • A WIC CPA in Training (CPAT) has not completed all required competency-based trainings, and are only permitted to perform those tasks in which he/she has demonstrated competence under supervision of the preceptor and having passed that modules quiz. (For example, a CPAT can perform WIC certifications after completing the WIC Certification Module, passing the module quiz and their preceptor has certified competence via the skills checklist.)

 

Nutritionists / Registered Dietitian:

Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian (RD) Qualifications:

  • Has successfully completed 17 CPA training modules within 6 months of hire, the MIECN course (if desired) within 6 months of hire, and 35 hour required breastfeeding training within 1 year of hire, AND
  • (Preferably) has credentials of a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) or eligibility for registration with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration; if applicable, has State license or certified as a nutritionist/dietitian, or
  • Holds a Bachelor’s degree in the field of nutrition from an accredited college or university, or
  • Holds a Master’s or Doctoral degree in nutrition from an accredited college or university.

 

The online MIECN and CPA Modules refresher courses are required to be completed every five years from date original completion.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

A WIC Nutritionist/RD can perform the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Refers high-risk participants to other health-related and social services, as necessary.
  • Prescribes food packages to high-risk participants, as appropriate.
  • Develops individual care plans for high-risk participants.
  • Coordinates nutrition education, including breastfeeding promotion and support that is responsive to the identified needs/interests of each high-risk participant.
  • Conducts breastfeeding assessment for all breastfeeding women.
  • Documents providing referrals and conducting appropriate follow-up to referrals to high-risk participants.
  • Tracks high-risk participants’ progress in improving their health and document for outcomes.

 

Clerk / Front Desk Staff:

Clerk / Front Desk staff minimum qualifications and competency-based training requirements: 

  • Meets appropriate local-agency established qualifications based on assigned duties, AND
  • Complete the following WIC competency-based Training Modules within 2 months of hire:
    • WIC Certification
    • Customer Service
    • Breastfeeding is the Best Choice
  • Complete 6 hour breastfeeding training within 6 months of hire. [Note: All front line and administrative staff are required to attend this training (offered by the State WIC Office) to learn the basics of breastfeeding and why promoting and supporting breastfeeding is a priority for WIC.]

 

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Provides clinic and office support to the CPA and nutrition staff.
  • Implements SA and LA program policies and protocols.
  • Sets the tone for excellent customer service to participants as they enter the clinic.
  • Can evaluate and document an applicant’s program eligibility criteria (category, residency and income – see CT: 1)
  • Refers participants to other social services and documents accordingly.
  • Participates in breastfeeding promotion and support.

 

LA Breastfeeding Coordinators

Breastfeeding Coordinators must meet the following qualifications and competency-based training requirements:

  • Meets the qualifications for a CPA.
  • Has experience in program management
  • Has, at minimum, 1 year of experience in counseling breastfeeding women.
  • Has successfully completed specialized training in lactation management and care. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is preferred, but individual may be exam-eligible or have successfully completed other State approved specialized training (CLE / CLC).

 

Roles and Responsibilities

Depending on a LA’s organization, the LA may assign some of these responsibilities to another staff member.

  • Oversees the planning, implementation and evaluation of local agency breastfeeding activities.
  • Ensures that LA staff is properly trained on breastfeeding education and support.
  • Provides ongoing supervision and support of LA breastfeeding staff.
  • Keeps current with up-to-date breastfeeding information and disseminates this as well as FNS-provided information to other local agency staff.
  • Identifies, coordinates and collaborates with community breastfeeding stakeholders.
  • Monitors LA breastfeeding rates.
  • Ensures that breast pump issuance, inventory, and maintenance are logged and monitored.
  • Performs the roles and responsibilities of a CPA.

 

Peer Counseling Coordinator 

Qualifications: Same as LA Breastfeeding Coordinator

 

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Contributes to the development of program goals and objectives for the local agency peer counseling program.
  • Oversees the planning, management, implementation and evaluation of local agency peer counseling activities.
  • Keeps current with up-to-date breastfeeding information and disseminates this as well as FNS-provided information to other local agency staff.
  • Mentors new peer counselors, providing routine follow-up and guidance in the early days of the job.
  • Provides ongoing supervision and feedback for peer counselors.
  • Reports on peer counseling program activities to supervisor and the State agency.
  • Coordinates with local community stakeholders such as hospitals and health care providers to enhance the effectiveness of the peer counseling program.
  • Conducts a needs assessment to identify gaps in breastfeeding resources and services within the local agency and community that the WIC peer counseling program can address.
  • Oversees the training of peer counselors and peer counselor supervisors.

 

Peer Counselors:

Peer counselors must meet the following qualifications and competency-based training requirements:

  • Has personal experience with breastfeeding, having breastfed at least one baby.
  • Is a paraprofessional (as described in the Loving Support Model) from the target population; which is defined as:

“An individual without extended professional training in health, nutrition, or the clinical management of breastfeeding who are selected from the group to be served and are trained and given ongoing supervision to provide a basic service or function. Paraprofessionals provide specific tasks within a defined scope of practice. They assist professionals, but are not licensed or credentialed as healthcare, nutrition, or lactation consultant professionals.”

 

  • Peer Counselors are required to complete the following counseling and breastfeeding training modules within 6 months of hire:
    • Counseling Skills
    • Cross Cultural Counseling
    • Breastfeeding is the Best Choice
    • Getting Started with Breastfeeding
    • Managing Breastfeeding
    • Other Breastfeeding Issues
    • Pumping and Away From Baby

 

  • Loving Support Peer Counselor training within 1 month of hire All Peer Counselors are required to attend the Loving Support Peer Counseling Training offered by the State WIC Office, AND

 

  • 35 hour breastfeeding training within 1 year of hire All Peer Counselors are required to complete this comprehensive breastfeeding training once every five (5) years. Staff can attend a course offered by the State WIC Office or another similar course.

 

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Provides mother-to-mother support to prenatal and postpartum WIC mothers by providing basic breastfeeding information and encouragement.
  • Is available to participants outside of usual clinic hours and the WIC clinic environment.
  • Counsels prenatal and postpartum participants by phone as well as face-to-face visits at the home, hospital, and/or WIC clinic at regularly scheduled intervals.
  • Refers participants to the WIC-Designated Breastfeeding Expert, WIC nutritionist or other appropriate health or social service agency, including outside community breastfeeding resources, for situations outside the peer counselor’s scope of practice.

 WIC Training Modules

Training modules are self-paced and meet requirements of VENA competencies. The following provide additional guidelines to be used with staff completing the WIC training modules. Further guidance is provided in the WIC Training Manual.

 

Preceptors- for each CPA trainee (CPA-T) a designated preceptor (approved by the State Office) will be distinguished to act as a mentor to the trainee, in most cases the preceptor will be the agency dietitian, nutritionist or a State Training Coordinator. The responsibilities of a preceptor include:

  1. Mentor Trainees through the eLearning training modules.
  2. Answer questions and provide direction and advice.
  3. Perform reviews of certifications, nutrition education and related work performed by the trainee during the training process. Preceptors must sign off on all certifications that CPA-T’s conduct until the trainee has reached the status of CPA.
  4. Provide opportunities for observational learning.
  5. Evaluate hands on learning activities.
  6. Certify achievement of the modules’ performance objectives by signing the “Skills Checklist Form(s).”
  7. Proctor the Practical Exam for CPA-T’s
    1. Provide feedback comments and mark pass/fail for each fie categories
    2. Completed Practical Exam will need to be signed and scanned into a PDF.  This will then need to be submitted by CPA-T in LMS by clicking Practical Exam assignment.  Once submitted, the final Knowledge Exam will unlock and become available for taking.
  8. Completed Practical Exam will need to be signed and scanned into a PDF. This will then need to be submitted by CPA-T in LMS by clicking Practical Exam assignment. Once submitted, the final Knowledge exam will unlock and become available for taking.
  9. Provide on-going mentoring opportunities for all staff, conduct staff assessments, as well as provide effective feedback for enhancing skills.
  10. Develop a formal WIC staff evaluation plan that will monitor and evaluate the quality of the staff members work for CPA’s, Clerks or Peer Counselors. This should be done on an annual basis as described on page 5 of the “WIC Clinic Staff Training Policy & Procedure Manual”.

 

Skills Checklist- each module requires that a preceptor observe the trainee completing certain activities accurately. Once the trainee successfully completes the skills checklist it will be filed as part of the trainee record kept at the LA.

 

Quizzes

After the completion of each module the trainee will be required to complete a quiz which is offered through the LMS. Scores will be recorded in the LMS and will become part of the trainee record.

 

Nutrition Education Group Exam

Presenting a nutrition class is only required by those CPAT’s that will be facilitating group sessions at their local agencies. The CPAT will select nutrition education materials and a lesson plan and present a nutrition class to WIC participants under the supervision of a nutritionist/RD or Training Coordinator.

 

Clinic Functions

The trainee can independently perform functions he/she has successfully completed and has been signed off on using the skills checklist which indicates the trainee is competent in that area. All other skills they are learning may only be practiced under the supervision of their preceptor or qualified clinic staff.

 

Final Exams

Once a CPAT has successfully completed all quizzes, skills checklists, the 8 week nutrition course and the practical exam for all 5 participant types, the final CPA exam will unlock and be available to the trainee in the LMS. Once the trainee has scored an 80% or higher on the knowledge exam the CPA certification certificate needs to be requested from the state office and copy kept in new CPA’s training record.

 

MIECN Nutrition Course or CPA Final Exam Failure

The module skills checklists, quizzes, MIECN 8 week nutrition course and final exam can be re-taken if the student does not initially pass. If a LA staff member scores below an 80% in the 8 week nutrition course or below an 80% on the final CPA exam the LA will be responsible for mentoring the trainee on the course topics before re-enrolling the trainee in the nutrition course or before the final exam is re-assigned. The student will only be able to function as a CPA once they pass the nutrition course and final CPA exam. The preceptor should provide additional mentoring to guide the student successfully through the modules.

 

If a CPAT cannot pass the CPA Knowledge exam after 2 attempts, it is up to the local agency to determine whether they will allow the CPAT to re-classify as a Clerk / Front Desk staff or terminate employment.

 

Additional Training Requirements and Continuing Education

Civil Rights

On an annual basis, all WIC staff will complete the Civil Rights training hosted in the LMS. Staff completion of this training will be tracked in the LMS. This training will be assigned and must be completed during the first 90 days of each Federal fiscal year. New Clinic staff must complete this training within 60 days of hire and will re-certify during the next annual certification period.

 

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)

All clinic staff are required to complete semi-annual (every six months) National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) training. This training offers a summary of the NVRA and responsibilities as a public assistance agency to register voters. Each NVRA Clinic Coordinator will be responsible to provide trainings on voter registration services for new hires within one week of their start date. Copies of certificates required to be kept in training records and available upon request to the state agency.

 

Continuing Education 12 Hours Annually

All CPAs, RDs, and Nutritionists are required to take a minimum of twelve continuing education hours to stay abreast with evolving information and to support the roles and responsibilities of the CPA and nutritionist. The training hours are in addition to the trainings provided by the State. These trainings shall be documented in the clinic or LA Training Log (Appendix GP: E) which will be verified at the time of the LA Program Review.

 

Some examples of other continuing education may include but are not limited to:

 

Many other relevant webinars are available online and through community partners. LAs shall verify with their point of contact at the State Office whether certain training content will satisfy the continuing education requirements.