When a doctor or nurse says "pulse 102," they are referring to a patient's pulse rate, or how fast the heart is beating, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In this instance, the patient's heart is beating 102 times per minute.
A healthy pulse rate falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute, or BPM. Pulse rate fluctuates with exercise, emotion, illness and injury, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Women tend to have a faster heart rate than men, and people who do regular cardiovascular exercise can have a heart rate lower than 60 BPM without issue. Doctors and nurses usually check pulse rate on the inside of a patient's wrist.