I'm a small town OB. I literally cannot go out in public without seeing a patient or two. My kids are getting used to it. My husband laughs because if I see an obnoxious patient, I will use him as a shield so that she can't see me.
Going to a birthday party today for a friend's child. I delivered her...which is how we met. That's part and parcel of small town. There is a limited pool of people to be friends with...and there's a limited pool of docs. By necessity, we are friends with some of our patients. We work with our patients (I have delivered L&D nurses and have several of the unit clerks as patients).
It's hard, being both a friend and a doctor. I really hate operating on friends, although I have done it. I did one case last month on a friend and it went perfectly, although the night before I was nervous.