Hi, I can help you get started. I live in LA and am also a forensic nurse. First things first, you have to get your RN, preferably a BSN. There are 2 colleges in LA that offer a forensic nursing certification program. There's also an online program through Kaplan University.
Most forensic nurses work as SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner) as part of the SART team (sexual assault response team). I only know of one nurse who works in death investigation, similar to a coroner's duties.
It took me almost 2 years to find a position as a SANE nurse. Basically, you have to be very aggressive and almost have a poition created for you. When you call assault centers or the ER, you get the run around. Especially now because the hospitals want the SANE nurses to now go back to school for their doctorate degrees. At USC, there are approximately 4 nurse practitioners working as SANE nurses.
There are 9 sexual assault organizations that I know of in LA. I was only able to get a position because a homicide/sexual assault detective referred me to a director of a center I never knew existed. I was doing a training course to be a volunteer crisis counselor.
I believe there are nurses that can take a specific SANE certification course. I did the complete certification, i.e. sexual assault, death investigation, courtroom experience, evidence collection...This is definately what put me ahead of the other people applying for the same job.
Anyway, you should go to the website www.csaia.org
. It's the California Sexual Assault Investigators Association. The key to getting in this field is all about exposure.