After graduating from the UCLA School of Nursing, Neal was part of the first wave of psychiatric/ mental health nurses to be certified by the American Nurses’ Association. She was also the first independent provider of continuing education for nurses in the United States, starting in 1970. Neal began with one program, Nursing Care Plans, and worked with another nurse, Mary Jensen, to develop the process and content and to present workshops. She worked with two coauthors – Phyllis Cooper and Pat Cohen, also graduates of the school – to produce the first volume of Nursing Care Planning Guides and ended up publishing five more volumes in several editions. In 1985, Neal sold her education and publishing enterprise to Williams & Wilkins, medical and nursing book publishers in Baltimore. Four years later she and a partner started Nursecom Inc. to publish nursing journals and clinical books and engage in association management.